Salim Dara's university career in the sciences came to a brutal halt after the student strikes of 1979 against Marxist regimes. Considered as one of the leaders of the strike, Salim was imprisoned for five years. Thanks to Amnesty International he was released and attempted to resume his studies in 1984. eventually he decided to leave formal education and went to work at the Songhai Project – a newly established educational farm which had been set up in October 1984. Gradually he began to understand the differences between an academic education and the type of education being developed at the Songhai centre. However, he found that here too the system had its limitations due to the superficial and rigid nature of the teaching techniques. His suggestions for change were not implemented therefor Salim decided to leave Songhai to establish “Solidarité Rurale” which has revolutionized agricultural education in Benin through its holistic and entrepreneurial based learning model.