From Street to School

De la rue à l'école
Genre : Social
Type : Documentary
Original title :
Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 2012
Format : Feature
Running time : 80 (in minutes)

Mame Diarra (aged 12) decides to enroll for school on her own initiative, in an attempt to alter her destiny as a guide for the blind, chosen for her at an early age by her grandmother. She brings into the struggle her friends, who share the same fate: Ndeye Diop (aged 8), Khady Sall (claims to be 14), Korka Sow (looks 13, but has no birth certificate). This upheaval causes conflict between the old women and the young girls, in the presence of filmmaker and volunteer social worker Pape Abdoulaye Tall, who together with his partners makes a joint effort to help the girls' plans come to fruition, but without upsetting the family life of the group.

Overall, this documentary film is built around Pape Tall's experience as a volunteer social worker, who has been in contact for years with young girls who want to go to school and continue their studies. At the same time, they have to guide their blind and/or impoverished relatives in the daily search for the pittance desperately needed to feed a large family living in the suburbs. And they have to do all this at times of the day and year which make it very hard for them to attend school. Together with partner volunteers and organizations, Pape Tall keeps up a peaceful campaign to make the dream of studying come true for these girls, whom the street has equipped with a moving degree of wisdom and fragility.

Pape Tall sees his role as that of tutor, or better still a mediator who has known both the girls and their parents for over seven years. His intention is to document how they interact with other children, how they fit into class and spend their time at school, their relationship with the teacher. He is keen to film them as they take part in school life, as they think things over and answer questions from the teacher, to see them play with other kids at break time, or as they go to get news from their grandmother, whom they left very early in the morning at a strategic spot. He wants to find out how they are split between their roles as girls and relatives, and their plans as schoolchildren to attend classes and get off the street for good. He films the inner struggle of these kids who are at the very core of deprivation, of parental conflict, of the street and its dangers, but who still have the carefree happiness of childhood. A dual struggle, unique of its kind, but which shows that all is not lost.

Pape Tall

Based on original screenplay

Les Films de l'Atelier
Camp jérémy avenue cheikh anta diop
BP: 5889 Dakar Fann Sénégal

Ardèche images production
Le village lussas
07 170 Lussas france

Shooting start date: 10/2012
Expected completion date: 11/2012
Production status [July 2012]: Post-production

41'303 Euro

Financing in place
1'302 Euro
Director''s note
The production of a longer (80 min) version of this documentary, based on a medium-length (52 min) feature entitled Mame Diarra et compagnie, provides an opportunity to take a more filmic, effective and developed approach to the issues of child education. This film rejects the fatality, the handing down and the continuity of the poverty which afflicts so many children on the streets of Africa's capital cities. It is a documentary of hope, hope that rises out of poverty, bringing the conviction that children's futures are off the streets and that the struggle for human dignity can be carried on through knowledge and education.

Production Company''s Profile
Les Films de l'Atelier was set up in 2005 by Gora SECK and Mamadou Sellou DIALLO who are filmmakers, producers and arts research lecturers at the department of Civilization, Religion, Arts and Communication of the Université Gaston Berger in Saint-Louis, Senegal. The structure also provides an interface for other young cultural players with a project to pursue.


Senegal · Colore · 80'

Pape Tall

Les Films de l'Atelier
Camp jérémy avenue cheikh anta diop
BP: 5889 Dakar Fann Sénégal

Ardèche images production
Le village lussas
07 170 Lussas france


2 files


  • Arterial network
  • Media, Sports and Entertainment Group (MSE)
  • Gens de la Caraïbe
  • Groupe 30 Afrique
  • Alliance Française VANUATU
  • Zimbabwe : Culture Fund Of Zimbabwe Trust
  • RDC : Groupe TACCEMS
  • Rwanda : Positive Production
  • Togo : Kadam Kadam
  • Niger : ONG Culture Art Humanité
  • Collectif 2004 Images
  • Africultures Burkina-Faso
  • Bénincultures / Editions Plurielles
  • Africiné
  • Afrilivres

With the support of