Senegalese families struggle during Spain’s lockdown

By Maria Rodriguez

Dakar, June 2 (efe-epa).- In March, Aram Ndiaye did not receive the money her son normally sends her every month.

The lockdown imposed in Spain to curb the Covid-19 pandemic meant her son Mamadou could not send the payment which allows his family to buy food, medicine and fund his little brother’s school in Senegal.

Sitting on a large double bed that occupies almost the entire bedroom in her house in Pikine, on the outskirts of Dakar, his mother explains that he is the only one of her children in Spain.

“We can’t do without that money,” she says.

Her husband Ababacar Dieng is retired and receives a pension of around 150 euros a month.

“Many families live the same as us and have the same problems, (their children) are not sending money because they do not have a job but everyone knows that it is because of the disease, that the situation is like this in France, Spain and Italy,” he says.

Tens of thousands of Senegalese have moved to Europe, many in search of better opportunities so that they can support their families.

Funds from citizens working abroad represented just over nine percent of Senegal’s GDP in 2018, double the amount of public development aid the country received that year, Serigne Babacar Gueye, a Senegalese jurist specializing in international migration, wrote in a recent article.

Mamadou, who lives in Bilbao in the north, has been in Spain for 10 years.

He tells Efe that he was taking a course to become a sailor and is now receiving unemployment benefits.

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