With one the poorest, most illiterate economies, Mali has already been served the grittiest of challenges. With challenges in many domains ranging from health to education, daily living seems impossible. So how do Malians manage?
4+ years on the ground in Mali has allowed me to truly see and understand the many challenges Malians face each day, especially in the remote rural villages. I have big respect for the people of Mali. They make the best of what they have. And they possess a desire to improve their circumstances. This is evident when we see villagers traveling for days from remote areas coming to request our foundation Empower Mali to help build a school or presenting a project in clean water. They come with the knowledge and willingness to participate financially. During the project, there are many hands involved from every community group in the village. And when the project is completed, each and every person celebrates knowing that their lives and the lives of their children will be just a little better for it.
Through Empower Mali, some great work to empower our communities is happening in Mali! And it would be impossible without generous hearts willing to help make a difference.
We have some Big News! Empower Mali has received a generous tractor and 3-classroom middle school donation by the Watkins Family of Alpine, Utah. We are grateful for their long-term investment in our communities. Their tractor donation will be used as part of our food security program in the region of Ouelessebougou and their school donation will help build the Micah Shea Watkins Academy in the village of Dongorona. The rural village of Dongorona is situated in the community of Oueléssébougou, Mali. With a population of 1300 households, there are 260 children currently attending primary and middle school. Many more have dropped out after 6th grade. The primary school, built in 1981, houses grades 1-6 and currently has 200 children, of which 36 are in the final 6th grade. Currently 60 children will walk the 12 miles each day to attend the neighboring middle school in Simidji. The road they walk is a main road which is continuously busy with many buses/cars/trucks travelling dangerously fast. Many parents in the village have withdrawn their girls because of fear of having them walk that long distance alone. A school in the village will give these girls an equal chance at an education and prevent early marriages. We hope to have this middle school ready for the children when school starts in October. Read more about this amazing donation here
We are also grateful for the kind donation of a potable water treatment system through Utah based Alpine Technical Services and AllChem. The system which will be installed in Dongorona will provide 1300+ households with clean water and ultimately a healthier life.
These past few months we have also been focused on finishing up the three classroom middle school, computer room and teachers housing for the remote village of Falla. We are now at roof level and in the next couple of months we will be putting on the roof and painting. This school too will be ready for the new school year in October.
So many exciting things are happening !! A big shout out on behalf of our people in Mali to each and every one of you who have helped empower our communities in Mali.