Senegal: Betty Faye

If we reach out to others with peace in our hearts, we exemplify what has to be done for the happiness of humankind.

— Betty Faye

Betty Faye was born in 1936 in Fatick, Senegal, into a large extended family. Thus, she learned early on that solidarity and respect are major assets for peace. When she was 20, she took up teaching and came to realize this profession inspired in her a strong desire to share the hope of a better future. She also created associations to support women and children and assumed responsibility for the local chapter of the Red Cross over which she still presides.

Betty Faye often went home late when her professional obligations kept her at work. Once, exhausted by a long day, she took a horse-drawn cab to go home without knowing that the half-starved horse had slaved away since morning pulling a variety of loads in the sweltering heat and under the blows of a whip. The horse fell and Betty was thrown onto the rocky road. But help was soon at hand; neighbors, family members, carters, men and women, young and old escorted her to the medical center which she left late in the evening with her arm in a cast and a sling. The crowd had grown larger in the meantime and decided to accompany her. It was quite a sight to see her sitting like a queen on the cart, moved to tears by this procession; moved also by the multitude of voices united in a hymn that said: "Praise to you Betty, you who live for the well-being of others.” She stood up, supported by one of her sisters. She smiled, said a few words of thanks and encouragement to the crowd and told them: “This broken arm is the will of God. But as of tomorrow the struggle continues for our dignity, for our happiness, in harmony and peace.” Betty’s commitment to peace is deep. She took possession of the word “peace” and made this word her reason for living, the light that guides her action and is the primary objective of her everyday struggle for human dignity. When I asked her about the meaning this word has for her, she answered with a serenity that revealed nothing of the illness that has kept her away from her country and her family for a long time: "Without peace our future will fall apart.”

Red Cross Mbour Association des Femmes Teinturières (Women Dyer Association) Association “Aimer et Respecter les Aînés” (Association "Love and Respect for the Elders")