At this time of year there is just so much going on at Mali Rising schools that it is hard to keep everyone up to date on all the news. Year-end exams and summer are rushing at our students, just like they are here in the United States. But I wanted to share just a little peek at something powerful girls involved with our Girls Project have been up to -- meeting with career women in Mali to explore options for their future.
My name is Molly Hanrahan, and I’m the Monitoring and Evaluation Intern for Mali Rising this summer. I just finished my first year at the University of Utah, and I’m hoping to go into global health, public health, or the nonprofit world. When looking for opportunities for this summer, I was drawn to Mali Rising, as I’m sure many of you were, because the work they do is important and inspiring….
Just 10 days remain for participants in our Miles to Mali challenge! So far, walkers have covered 1,223 miles and raised more than $1,600 to raise funds for our next school. Why do they do it? To help girls like those our staff meet up with on the road to school last week. We found two groups of girls making their way from the small hamlet of Zela to the village of Beneko, home to our Cliff and Nita Bailey Middle School. Each day, the girls traverse more than 4 miles each way with the goal of improving their lives at school.
By Merritt Frey, Executive Director
This month as part of our Miles for Mali campaign, I’ve pledged to walk (and run) 160 miles. Miles for Mali is using this virtual walking event to raise funds to build a school for the children of the little village of Sankama in southern Mali.
I’m pretty active (and I have a young border collie to keep me motivated), so the actual distance hasn’t been too much of a challenge thus far. I think my body actually really likes walking, so physically it has been all positive. Who knows, maybe I’ll finally drop those 5 pounds I gained when I took this job!
But timewise fitting in the distance has been more of a challenge. Squeezing in time in a busy day for a good walk is an on-going pressure. I’ve used Miles for Mali to motivate me to get out of bed on a Saturday and go for a good hike or to take an evening stroll with the dogs instead of zoning out with Netflix.
Those are small life adjustments, but it has really made me think about the reality for our students in Mali, who have to find the time to do these walks every school day, all school year long.
On average, before Mali Rising builds a school with a partner village, the nearest school is 3 to 5 miles away on average – making for a 6 to 10 mile round-trip each day. And to fit that in around a school day that runs from 8am to 5pm, extensive chores at home, and finding a bit of time to actually do homework…well, you can see where students struggle.
Building a school for the kids of Sankama will make their commute easy so they can focus their time on learning, and on being a kid. Currently, about 90 percent of students in Sankama drop out after elementary school because they just can’t do the long walk to the nearest middle school.
Want to help? Support a school for Sankama! You can donate here or support one of our great Miles for Mali walkers here.
Boumadyè is and 18-year-old graduate of Mali Rising’s Sue Chung Chiu Middle School in the little village of Simidji. She used her Inspiration Scholarship to move to the capitol city of Bamako to pursue a secretarial degree at a vocational school. Why? Because she covets an influential role in the mayor’s office…
After much great work by our volunteer essay reviewers, we can announce the finalists in our 2018 Make the Case for Caring Essay Contest. In random order, the finalists are….
As all our Miles for Mali walkers start their journey this month, I thought this would be a good time to share a story from students in Mali about their own daily journey to school. Recently, our staff in Mali passed a group of girls on their way to school. They stopped to ask the girls about their trip. The girls were in the midst of their daily 8 kilometer (5 mile) one-way walk to school…
The older generation tends to worry – or, let’s be honest, complain – about young people’s work ethic, energy, and even empathy. You can think of this as the “Kids today” cliché: “Kids today don’t think of others.” “Kids today don’t take initiative.” Etc., etc. Well Roshini Balan is proving just how cliché that thinking is.
We celebrate the last day of April Alumni Month with this story of a Mali Rising graduate going on to a career that will help thousands of Malians, while building a great life for our alumna and her family — improving Mali one tooth at a time.
Younissa Samake is one of our very earliest graduates. Way back in 2007, he graduated from Frances W. Burton Middle School in the village of Tamala – the third school we ever built.
Looking back on those days, Younissa remembers his favorite subjects were history, geography, and French. Learn more about where Younissa’s love for education took him…