Interview with Anta Mbow, winner of the 2013 Women for Change special award

Anta Mbow chairs the Empire des Enfants (children’s empire) association, which helps young boys living on the streets of Dakar. In 2013, she earned the Women for Change award and won €5000 from the Orange Foundation to develop a drop-in centre to help young female victims of abuse in Dakar. Due to a lack of funding, however, the centre was forced to close in September 2014. During her stay in Paris, we took the opportunity to meet this brave woman who is determined not to leave children in need on the streets.

Anta, tell us about your association and how you help youngsters in Dakar.

I created the Empire des Enfants association in 2003 to help young boys living on the streets in Senegal, in particular in Dakar. The Empire des Enfants is a drop-in centre for boys aged 5 to 13. We provide these children with somewhere to stay and make sure they continue to study and play sports. The association takes these children in and helps to get them back into society. Ultimately our aim is to encourage each child to return to their family by, for instance, setting up mediation between parents and children. In Senegal, the number of children on the street has continued to rise over the past few years and society has grown completely indifferent to it. Some children are victims of slavery or suffer from famine, physical abuse, disease and sometimes also sexual abuse. Since 2003, we have managed to reinsert 3,500 children.
Luc Héripret, Brigitte Audy and Anta Mbow


Quels sont les projets pour l’association aujourd’hui ?

We need to build a new centre for Empire des Enfants. The rent on the current centre is too high and we will have to move the start of 2016. By building a new centre, we can increase our capacity to 150 residents and receive young girls. The new centre will allow us to take more sustainable action to support children in need.

What are your plans for the association now?

What we need is money to buy land in Dakar and fund the construction of the new centre. We need a total of 113 million CFA francs (€172,267) for the land and 160 million CFA francs (€243,918) to build the centre. So far we have raised 60 million CFA francs.
You can send your donations to our bank account BICIS No. 017823700073 or contact us via our website or by email at

Les enfants recueillis par Anta
L’empire des Enfants, à Dakar


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