Mission statement: To help the children in Senegal reach their dreams by supporting their educational needs.
The Sunu Foundation (“Sunu”) is a nonprofit created by Mbagnick (“Ponge”) Diouf, with the assistance of his family and friends, to help the youth of Senegal reach their dreams by supporting their educational needs.
Ponge grew up in Dakar, Senegal, where he lived with his 9 brothers and sisters, his parents, and his grandparents. Although his family didn’t have much, his family shared what they had and looked out for each other.
At an early age Ponge realized that although he didn’t have much, other children had a lot less. He found that giving to others in need was something he had a passion for and he felt a need to do so throughout his life.
“I remember when I was a young boy in Senegal walking by another boy about my own age who appeared to have nothing. I gave him the few coins that I had. I still remember his reaction to this day. Seeing the look in his eyes and how thankful he was made my day and gave me a feeling of greater purpose. That was one of many defining moments that led me to realize that giving to those less fortunate would be one of my most important life goals.”
Ponge now lives in the United States, but he has kept close ties with his extended family, friends and the community in Dakar. He continues to try to find ways to help those in Dakar who are in need so that they can succeed and realize their dreams. Sometimes he does so directly and other times he helps by coming to the assistance of friends having similar goals.
“Five years ago my great friend Malick called me for my help in supporting Jeunesse Amicale de la Medina (JAM). He started JAM in an effort to support youth education and to help them with their social, emotional, and physical development. I was so thrilled and happy that he trusted me to help. JAM helps over 300 kids in Dakar, and Malick runs and operates the entire program by himself. Seeing the good work that Malick has done and continues to do has compelled me to do more.”
Ponge decided that to do more he would create a nonprofit to help the children in Senegal.
“Sunu has been a collaboration with my family and other incredible people that I have met on my journey in life. My cousin, Awa Alioune Diouf, who was going to be our point of contact in Senegal, was at the center of this group. Awa also worked for a nonprofit and was a big advocate for youth education, especially in rural communities. Sadly, a week after Sunu became an incorporated nonprofit in Minnesota, she passed away. Her presence will be missed every day, but I am inspired to do great things with the Sunu Foundation that would make her proud.”
Awa’s sister, Dr. Adama Diouf, has stepped in to be Sunu’s point of contact in Senegal. Dr. Diouf has her Masters and Ph.D. in Food and Human Nutrition and is currently, among other things, a Professor at the University Cheikh Anta Diop Dakar. Dr. Diouf’s education and experience, along with the fact that she resides in Senegal, will be a great asset to Sunu.
Sunu, through fund raising, will support JAM and will also reach out to rural communities to explore areas in which it can assist those communities in meeting the educational needs of their children. Sunu will evaluate where and how to partner with schools in rural communities in Senegal to determine what needs they have and how to best meet those needs.