Berta Gielge

Senegal Instructor

Berta is a Dragons instructor who mostly works with our Princeton Bridge Year Senegal program. Berta grew up in Vienna, in a Polish-German bilingual family with four siblings. After finishing school, she traveled to France for a year of volunteer service in an after-school care center. Upon her return she started studying Environment and Natural Resource Management – but Vienna could not hold her for long. In her second year of studies, she initiated a cooperation with the University of Guadeloupe and flew to the Caribbean, where she took classes and worked as an intern on a family farm, in a botanical garden and an agricultural research institute – and crossed the Atlantic in a sail boat. After returning to Vienna, she created her own individual study curriculum and started putting her agricultural knowledge into practice by cultivating her own garden and delivering organic vegetables to restaurants and households around Vienna.

In 2009 she first came to Senegal for a workshop of Senegalese drumming and dance and to visit various agricultural communities, and she became intensely involved with the village of Ndem, it’s people and their activities. The NGO Association des Villages de Ndem has been revaluating the living conditions in the rural Baol region through a wide variety of actions, ranging from water access, acro-ecology, building schools and health care facilities, founding work shops for different crafts and initiating fair trade relations with various European countries.

She has been living in Senegal for over five years, taking initiative and responsibility in various agricultural and educational projects. She is currently coordinating the agro-ecological project of Association des Villages de Ndem. She speaks English, French, German, Polish and Wolof fluently.