Rehabilitated Road Fosters Community Peacebuilding and Safety


Diara Mané - Farmer along SFL Road #8, Camaracounda to Laty

Diara Mané – Farmer along SFL Road #8, Camaracounda to Laty

Diara Mané lives in Samick, in a household of eleven people, four of them children (two attending school). She helped build the Camaracounda-Laty road, participating in both brush clearing and drainage digging. She was born in Samick, but she and her family fled when the separatist rebel group Mouvement des Forces Démocratiques de la Casamance, or MFDC, killed some family members. They returned several years ago, and Diara says things have improved considerably. “Things are much safer now. And cars used to only go up to Camaracounda, never into our village because the road was so bad. Now, there’s lots of traffic through Sameck.” She earns money through her vegetable garden and by selling fruit she picks.

Diara says the biggest impact the road has had in her life is that now her village is not so isolated. “Before the road was built, no one stayed out in the evening. No one traveled on the old road, and before this one was built I didn’t know anyone in other villages. Now, we have links with everyone in the other villages.” She says that being connected to people outside of her own village widens her social circle but also that it gives her new financial security. “There are more opportunities to sell my produce, and I can get better prices.”

The money she earned from working on the road went towards paying for food for her family, school fees for her children’s education, and she invested some of it in improving her garden.

Reflecting on her experience working on the road, Diara says, “I was happy meeting new people from new areas. When you meet new people, you have to get to know them. People learned tolerance and acceptance in the group.”

Community members come together to work on the new road.

Community members come together to work on the new road.


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Mustafa Omar, CEO

Mustafa Omar
Chief Executive Officer

Mustafa Omar has worked for Shelter For Life International in the field and Headquarters management positions; managing projects, leading new business development, and guiding operations around the world. Mr. Omar was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan and has worked in post-conflict reconstruction, Disaster Risk Reduction caused by human or natural phenomena, and market-revitalization efforts in Central Asia, East and West Africa, Europe, and Middle East for the past twenty (20) plus years. Mustafa holds graduate degrees in business administration and urban planning and is working on a PhD at the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University. Topics of research and professional interest include Market Resilience and Social Risk-Management, Influence of Environmental Degradation on Fragile Markets, Impact of Improving Physical Space on Lasting Peace, and the Interaction between Modern Governance and Informal Market Structures.

Gordon Wright
Vice Chairman

Gordon A. Wright is Founder and President of over 40 years with JIMI International and is an Elder at Tulsa Christian Fellowship. Mr. Wright owned and operated a lawn and tree service business for nearly 15 years. Mr. Wright also served with the US Army for three years in the 1960s.Two of Mr. Wright’s years were spent in South Korea as a Brigade Intelligence Sergeant. Mr. Wright has provided mentoring and counseling to spiritual leaders around the world; with specific attention to individuals in Russia, Ukraine and former Soviet Bloc countries. Mr. Wright helped to found and direct East/West Resources International and Global Assistance Partners International. Mr. Wright has served as one of the original founding board of directors for Shelter For Life International. Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, Gordon grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and currently resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma.