Founded in 2009 by Jetta Turkstra, Senequip is committed to enabling Senegalese youth in challenged environments to participate in programs where they can develop an increased sense of belonging and self-worth. We work with local soccer schools, elementary schools, and other sporting clubs in Senegal to:
- Organize and support leagues and teams for boys and girls
- Distribute athletic equipment and school supplies to soccer schools and elementary schools
- Organize coaching clinics
- Organize inter-regional tournaments
The sports schools we work with are committed to broad, ongoing education of their students. Schools require players to either be in school or have an established trade and reinforce life-skills needed beyond the game. Schools that receive equipment must participate in certain organizational meetings, sign declarations of status, and produce ID for all players.
In 2009, Jetta Turkstra brought a couple of used soccer uniforms to Senegal and gave them to kids in the village of Yoff. The reaction was amazing. She decided to canvass locally for used uniforms at the end of the soccer season and things soon caught on. In 2011, Jetta took over 3,000 uniforms to Senegal, accompanying the uniforms every step of the way. In December, 2011, she held an event in the village of YOFF to hand out the uniforms to the kids and over 2,000 people came. She was subsequently interviewed on a national morning show, which led to an audience with the minister of the interior and the mayor of the district in which the event was held. In the wake of the event, several new teams were formed, including the first ever female teams in Yoff.
For the next five years, Senequip partnered with the Dundas Soccer Association to ship thousands of uniforms and pieces of equipment to Dakar. In January, 2016, the government of Senegal sponsored the shipment and distribution of over 1,000 uniforms, signalling the first time the government had actively taken a part in the program. In addition to hosting tournaments and sponsoring teams, Senequip sponsored the first-ever academy for girls, Ecole Mariama N’diaye.
Jetta Turkstra, Founder
Jetta Turkstra was born and raised in the fishing village of Yoff, Senegal. After marrying Canadian media consultant, David Turkstra, she moved to Canada where she currently lives with David and their two children. She soon came to realize that there was a connection between Canada and Senegal that had yet to be developed: through uniforms and equipment, she could help build programs where Senegalese youth could go to develop both physically and socially. To date, Jetta has personally brought thousands of uniforms into Senegal, as well as school and medical supplies. In spite of increasingly challenging conditions in her homeland, she is committed to supporting and encouraging Senegalese youth in whatever ways she can.
El Hadj Diene Diouf, Director of Program Development
A former professional soccer player, El Hadj is currently one of Senegal’s most respected soccer coaches and sports administrators. After a distinguished career playing at all levels up to and including Senegal’s national team, El Hadj now devotes his time to teaching young people in Senegal the finer points of both Rugby and Soccer, and forming more advanced players for the professional ranks. El Hadj has held numerous positions in Senegalese sport and industry and holds a Masters degree in Sports Management from the Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar. El Hadj organizes Senequip’s coaching clinics and academy programs, and sets the code of conduct, rules and guidelines for tournament play and participation in the program.
David Turkstra, Co-Founder
After a long career as a media executive, David currently works as a consultant to the industry. In his former life, he was one of West Africa’s most prolific composers/producers working with over 20 singers in Senegal alone, including Youssou N’dour, Pape and Chiekh, and Viviane. Today, he remains closely tied to Senegal both personally and professionally and is committed to supporting Senegalese youth through Senequip’s many programs.
Senegal is a country in West Africa with approximately 14 million people. Most countries in Africa have many languages and many more ways to speak each language. Sometimes there are hundreds of ways just to say “Hello”. True to form, there are over 30 African languages spoken in Senegal. French is the official language, but there are 11 national languages, Wolof being the most popular. (Jetta grew up speaking Wolof, Serer and French. When she came to Canada, she added English.)
Senegalese culture is vibrant and widely felt throughout the world through ambassadors such as superstar Youssou N’dour. There is no war in Senegal, but life is difficult. Most Senegalese kids are fit, and almost all of them LOVE soccer. Unfortunately, most families do not have money for organized soccer, equipment or uniforms. That’s where Senequip comes in!