A Senegalese professor in southeast Dakar found internet fame after he posted two photos of himself teaching class while gently holding a baby of one of his students in his arms.
The heartwarming Twitter post resonated with struggling mothers who pursue an education while being a parent.According to France 24, Labaly Touré is a doctor of geomatics who teaches at the Sine Saloum Elhadj Ibrahima Niass University in Kaolack.
He posted the photos on June 2 with the following translated caption:
"This morning, I had the pleasure of carrying the baby of one of my students during my class at the university."
His post racked up 110,000 likes and 15,500 retweets within five days.
Twitter users were moved by his gesture of solidarity with student parents.
Speaking to the France 24, Touré explained why he swooped in and helped the student who had come into class with her child.
"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."
In addition to helping the mother, Touré said his gesture was "a nod to all student mothers who are juggling motherhood and higher education."
"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."
"I don't know of many women attempting to do this in my university or elsewhere. But 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."
The tweet below translates to:
"Bravo and fortitude to all the female students."
And this tweet praising the professor translates to:
"well done it's very humanistic on your part!"
Touré said he was surprised at the viral reaction to his post, adding he was unaware "so many people were thinking about this issue."
"For me, these photos ask a question: what solutions can we offer young women who come to university with their babies?"
"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! "
France 24 noted Senegal held one of the highest birth rates in the world. In 2020, the West African country's birth rate was 36.1%.