When donating to projects like ours, people often wonder about the long-term results: will this school still exist in a few years?
During my recent visit to Mali, I had a chance to visit all the schools we have built since 2012, and am happy to report that all are flourishing. Getting a new school is a powerful instrument of change in these small rural communities.
The tiny village of Kounfouna is an outstanding example. There was no school at all until they started a first grade class in 2012. In early 2013 we built two classrooms, plus office and latrines, and when I visited in November of 2013, they had a first and second grade, with one teacher shuttling between the two classes. They still had no furniture; the children just sat on the cement floor.
Two years later, they have four teachers, grades 1-4, and have built two temporary classrooms for the younger grades; all the classrooms have desks and benches, with more stacked in the back of the rooms for future expected students. Like all the villages we visited, they would like to have us build more concrete classrooms.
Thanks to the 2nd grade Brownie troop in Westford, MA, which raised $1,000 in a school-wide Toy Sale, we donated school supplies to three schools: Kartioni,
NʼGolokouna, and Gongasso, all built by BSA since early 2014. All three schools received a large dictionary, Teacherʼs Manuals for Math and Language, for grades 1-6, notebooks, several gross of pens and pencils, and 11 pounds of chalk – enough to supply them for at least 2 years.
We broke ground on Nov. 17 for our 15th school, in Tiogola, a fairly large village which already had 3 mud-brick classrooms. We will be building 2 more, and the school is already more than half finished; they are now putting on the roof.
Just before I left Mali, we met with officials in Nimporodioula, where we will be building school #16. A community of 1230, they have 162 students, 81 boys and 81 girls. They have three mud-brick classrooms, but their three temporary classrooms (above) are obviously inadequate, and we hope to build two cement classrooms early in 2016. Thanks to all our supporters for such a productive year!
Judy Lorimer, Director
Download a PDF version of our December 2015 newsletter (1 page, 270 MB).