Dear Build supporters,
We are happy to announce that BSA celebrated our Twentieth Anniversary in 2022. By the end of the year, we will have built 31 schools — 30 more than our original goal of helping to build just one!
In January, 2022, we finished a middle school in the village of Kintieri, Mali. The school was funded by a couple from Australia, and coordinated with the Ripple Foundation. We managed some successful calls over Zoom to share progress reports. Coordinating meetings in Bamako and Sikasso with time zones in
Massachusetts and Australia was a bit of a challenge!
In mid-March, our joint project with Mali Rising was completed in the community of Tentoubougou. BSA contributed some cash, plus the construction expertise of our partners Abou Coulibaly and Madou Traore; the rest of the funding from Mali Rising came through a family foundation in Utah which has built several other schools for BSA in previous years. Most of our schools have been located in rural areas, but the Tentoubougou school is on the busy north-south highway between Bamako and Bougouni. Children will no longer have to cross the highway to get to their classes, which had presented a safety issue.
Our 30th school, a two-classroom building in Gagnobougou, was completed in May 2022. The school has about 150 pupils with 5 teachers. The old mud-brick classrooms did not meet the current government standards.
Many schools in Mali are still made with mud bricks, and the rooms tend be small, dark, and stuffy, and vulnerable to collapse during heavy rains. All our schools are made from durable concrete blocks, with 5 large windows and roof vents in each classroom, for adequate light and ventilation.
In early August I got an e-mail from a Canadian resident, inquiring about the cost of building school. He and his fiancée were interested in becoming involved. I’m very happy to report that, as a result of their gift, a new middle school is becoming a reality in Nankorola; in fact it’s almost finished.
The funding was in place by early September, and even though it was the middle of harvest time, he villagers wasted no time in gathering the materials, digging the foundations, and readying the site for the construction crews. By the middle of November, they were putting on the roof. It should be finished well before the end of the year and ready for the students when school starts again after the holiday break.
There are at least two communities on our waiting list: Diassidian, near the city of Koutiala, and Sanonobougou. Fortunately, there are two major fund-raising projects in progress – a fast food restaurant in Australia and a school in California. Both have set the goal of raising enough to build in both villages, and some recent generous donations may make a third school possibility in 2023 . We are grateful for the generosity of our supporters, and every donation helps.
Here’s wishing you a Happy holidays and a joyful and healthy New Year!
– Judy Lorimer, Madou Traore, Abou Coulibaly, and Matthew Heberger