NPCC surplus automotive equipment to benefit Senegalese

surplus automotive equipment
Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Surplus equipment from the Automotive Technology department at North Platte Community College will find new life in West Africa - providing hope for impoverished families.

NPCC automotive instructor Mike Janecek donated an oscilloscope and other diagnostic equipment to the Municipal Vocational Training Center of Pikine, a non-profit school that exists to serve underprivileged youth in the slums of Senegal’s capital, Dakar. 

The oscilloscope is an electronic testing device that displays different voltages and tests various electrical components. It is used by automotive technicians to diagnose problems in vehicles.

The one sent to the training center will be used for demonstrations by Robert Columbine, a missionary and mechanics instructor for WorldVenture.

He teaches mechanics for the training center, which is the result of a partnership between Foyers Shama and the City of Pikine, situated in the suburbs of Dakar.

Foyers Shama aims to contribute to the socio-economic development of Senegal and the fight against poverty and social exclusion.

The organization defines its goal as giving young people on the street or in difficulty, such as the poor, illiterate and those excluded from the formal school system, an opportunity to live with dignity through education, training and professional integration and to create small, income-generating economic units to guarantee sustainability within the most disadvantaged sections of Senegalese society.

To do that, it works in partnership with local authorities to create Community Vocational Training Centers wherever needed in Senegal.

Statistics have shown that Senegal is one of the countries where the household poverty rate is very high. World Population Review estimates the rate at 46.7 percent for 2022.

According to Foyers Shama, the country is experiencing a rural-to-urban migration with much of its population giving up agricultural work and moving to the cities in search of more lucrative and sustainable incomes.

Dakar, which is the center for almost all of Senegal’s industries and economic activities, is the first choice for those searching for a better life. Many settle in Pikine without the means to provide for even basic necessities such as food, housing or an education.  

Youth from those poor families often end up on the street - uneducated, idle and without hope for the future. Because of that, Foyers Shama identified Pikine as the perfect location for its first Community Vocational Training Center.

Janecek learned about Foyers Shama through a friend who teaches automotive classes in Pittsburgh, Penn.

“He posted on Facebook that he had sent some older equipment from his school to the training center,” Janecek said. “I happened to be going through some of our surplus equipment that our department had cycled out. It was still viable, but with more advanced technology available, the college had upgraded to newer and better equipment. I knew the older stuff wouldn’t bring anything at auction, so I was hoping to find a place to donate it to.”

His friend put him in touch with Columbine, who was extremely excited about the idea of obtaining the oscilloscope for the training center.

Columbine plans to use the diagnostic equipment to train young Senegalese to be mechanics and business owners, in the hope that it will empower them to provide for their families and strengthen the fabric of their society by enabling them to lift themselves out of poverty.