Turkish health and religious charities have been working extensively in the West African nation of Senegal ahead of the upcoming holy month of Ramadan. The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) said at least 1,000 people have undergone health screenings in Senegal's Kedougou region – an urgent necessity in an area hit by the deadly Ebola virus, a disease that has no known cure and an infamously high mortality rate.
TİKA has opened health centers and distributed medicine within the framework of a program launched at the beginning of this year. "This region is under the threat of an Ebola outbreak due to it being close to the Guinea border," TİKA Coordinator Kutluhan Yücel told Anadolu Agency (AA). In 2014, TİKA donated around $3 million to support projects in Senegal. Meanwhile, students in the Muslim-majority country are receiving free Quranic instruction via new learning centers opened by the Fetih 1453 Association for Science, Education, Research and Relief, which donated around $22,000 for the learning centers. The Turkish charity supported the Quranic teaching centers for orphans after a report published by AA in February described the lack of facilities for religious study. Fetih 1453 Association for Science, Education, Research and Relief Chairman Mustafa Er and his deputy, Ayhan Caymaz, recently visited Arafat – an area 20 kilometers from the capital Dakar –and toured centers where children learn the Quran on wooden boards. Er told AA that three centers opened to 200 students, offering resources such as food, cleaning products, first-aid materials and copies of the Quran, as well as financial help. Er thanked AA for shedding light on the situation in the area and described the agency as "Turkey's eye on the world."