The Words of the Fleischman Family

President's Wife Inaugurates Open House at IRFF Rehabilitation Project in Senegal

Patricia Fleischman and IRFF Staff
November 1985

Left to right: Mr. Sayan de Djimera, director of the program, Mrs. Abdou Diouf, and IRFF representative Patricia Fleischman.

The center for the rehabilitation of the Handicapped, Dakar, Senegal, was begun in 1983 through the incredible effort and enduring heart of our missionary, Patricia Fleischman. With a grant from IRFF she established an educational training program for the handicapped and gave hope and vision to the physically disabled in Dakar. Recently the wife of President Abdou Diouf visited the center to announce the official opening of an exposition at the center. The following article is excerpted from Le Soleil, the Senegalese newspaper.

The Center for the Professional Rehabilitation of the Handicapped of the International Relief Friendship Foundation (IRFF) was visited yesterday by the wife of the head of state, Mrs. Elisabeth Diouf, honorary sponsor of the center. This ceremony took place in the presence of the Minister for the Protection of Nature, Mr. Cheikh Cissokho. The International Relief Friendship Foundation, whose headquarters are in New York, is a non-governmental organization whose activities are mainly directed at help and assistance for the needy. It sponsors, in our capital, this center which was created two years ago and which rapidly became significant due to its effective actions to help the handicapped; it works for their social integration by preparing them to practice a professional activity.

In the short speech which he gave, Mr. Cissokho, in the name of the First Lady, thanked the eight delegates of IRFF for having invited him to come visit their center. He said, "Mrs. Diouf's presence among you today is an expression of the special interest she has in seeing our handicapped brothers and sisters live a dignified and decent life, as normal and flourishing as possible, and for them to actually participate in the building of the nation!' The Minister for the Protection of Nature was satisfied by the remarkable work undertaken by IRFF since its installment in October 1983. He also made the remark that the interest of this center does not lie only in the technical training and practices dispensed to its students -- in sewing as well as in related activities -- but also, and especially, in the enormous socioprofessional possibilities which it offers them. The minister indicated that the government has always been generous in its endorsement and support of IRFF. He assured IRFF that the Senegalese government will continue to help as best it can and that he rejoices at IRFF's efforts to raise the center's capacity to be able to accommodate 120 trainees.

The director of the IRFF program in Senegal, Mr. Sayan de Djimera, presented a plaque to the honorary sponsor, Mrs. Elisabeth Diouf. The First Lady then inaugurated the exposition produced by the pupils of the Center; she also visited the classrooms. 

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