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Professor cradles his student's baby during class in solidarity with moms in school

Labaly Touré, a doctor of geomatics at the Sine Saloum Elhadj Ibrahima Niass University, is going viral for his act of kindness for a student mom.

Professor cradles his student's baby during class in solidarity with moms in school
Image Source: ToureLabaly / Twitter

A Senegalese professor is going viral on Twitter for a post he recently uploaded. The post included two photos of him cradling a baby while lecturing his class and reading from a sheet of paper. Labaly Touré, a doctor of geomatics who teaches at the Sine Saloum Elhadj Ibrahima Niass University in Kaolack in Senegal's capital Dakar, stated that he "saluted" all moms who were attending classes while taking care of their young children. The incident, according to the educator, highlighted the significant cost of institutional child care in Senegal. Touré thus vowed to support all student moms in whatever way he could, France 24 reports.



"This morning, I had the pleasure of carrying the baby of one of my students during my class at the University," he posted on Twitter, originally in French (Senegal was formerly a French colony, hence the official language is French). "I pay tribute and salute the courage of all student moms." Since it was first uploaded, his post has been retweeted over 14,500 times. It has also received almost 112,000 likes. Evidently, many resonated with the dual burden many women—mothers, in particular—experience; caring for their children and households in addition to working outside the home.



Touré explained what had occurred in his classroom in an interview with France 24. He shared, "A student came to my class with her baby, who was less than a year old, tied on her back. She wasn’t able to concentrate on the course like that. She put the baby on her lap, and when I saw that, I offered to take the baby myself so that she could focus on class. I kept the baby with me for the entire class, he stayed very calm." Nonetheless, the professor's act of kindness was not just about his student.



"It was a way to help her, but also a nod to all student mothers who are juggling motherhood and higher education," he reaffirmed. "I want to show them that these two roles aren’t incompatible these days. Because I am a father myself, I am sensitive to these issues. And we, as teachers, have a role to play in helping these mothers." While he admitted that he was not aware of many mothers attempting to do this in his university, he vowed to help any moms he did come across in his class. He said, "When I do encounter a student mother, I’ll do everything I can to support her so that she doesn’t give up her education. I also spoke to my colleagues, telling them that motherhood shouldn’t be a reason for someone to stop their studies."



Professor Touré did not expect his tweet to go viral when he posted it. Therefore, he claimed it offered an opportunity to discuss what solutions exist to help moms who also work outside the home or study. "For me, these photos ask a question: what solutions can we offer young women who come to university with their babies?" He stated. "The predicament of these young mothers highlights a problem in Senegal—daycares and nannies are expensive, so they aren’t really an option for everyone, especially when you think about students who, very often, have limited financial means. Obviously, if my student could pay for a nanny, she would. She didn’t have a choice and I wasn’t going to send her away because she came to class with her baby!" The pandemic has also highlighted the burden of unpaid domestic work that more often than not falls on women and mothers rather than their men counterparts. In recognition of this, many countries are now in discussions about how they can strengthen their care economies.


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