"In some parts of the world, students are going to school everyday. It's their normal life. But in other parts of the world, we are starving for an education. It's like a precious gift. It's like a diamond." -Malala YousafzaiMy journey starts in 2012 when I lived in Mali for a few months. While I was there, I traveled to several villages. There was a stark contrast between those villages with a school, and those without a school. In villages without a school, there were a lot of malnourished children, there was a lack of energy among the people and very little excitement for life. The villages with a secondary school were happier, cleaner, and more productive. The children were eager and excited, curious and inquisitive. There was also a special light in the eyes of those in the villages with easy access to higher education. With additional education comes increased opportunity and a future beyond the village. Those who complete their education will likely be the next leaders of Mali and help raise their country out of poverty.
Children from the village of Diorila, Mali where there is a middle school.
Fala, with a population of 1,587 children, is a remote village in the southern Sikasso region of Mali, West Africa. There is an elementary school in the village, but no middle school. Without an education beyond the 6th grade, future opportunities are very limited for the children in the village of Fala. Almost all children in Fala drop out of school after the 6th grade. With no other options, these children usually end up in the mining towns working as child laborers. In order for the children in Fala to attend middle school, they must walk 7 to 10 km each way to one of the surrounding towns of Touloula, Soumba, Donkerila or Diakaoro.
The community leaders and parents of Fala are committed to changing their children's future by enabling their children to remain in school. I work with an incredible organization called Empower Mali. We are currently building a middle school in the village of Fala. Once complete, children in Fala will be able to attend middle school in their own village. The school will serve 150 children each year from Fala and surrounding communities. In addition, the school building will become a community center at night that hosts adult literacy classes and workshops.
The Field Director of Empower Mali, Yeah Samaké, was born and raised in Mali in a village called Ouélessébougou where he is now the mayor. Yeah has overseen the construction of 19 other middles school in Mali.
It costs $60,000 to build a secondary school in Mali. We have already raised $52,000 through generous donations but we still need to raise the remaining $8,000 to finish the school. In order to raise the remaining funds, with the help of our board, I put together this video to promote this cause for education:
Our campaign ends on Sunday, November 23rd at 11:59pm. Check out our Indiegogo campaign to learn more and donate: