The Mindful Bunch School in Kafara Nears Completion

by Merritt Frey, Executive Director

Thanks to a generous group of friends who wanted to celebrate their friend Ilias’s move to a new country, a new school is nearly finished in Kafara, Mali.

The group has decided to name the school The Mindful Bunch Middle School. Where did that quirky name come from? It references a Kiva loan group (if you don’t know about Kiva, check them out!) the friends participate in together, honoring the school as a continuation of their joint legacy of giving.

On October 27, Ilias will join us for the ceremonial opening of The Mindful Bunch Middle School in Kafara. Watch this blog for fun stories from the party, or follow us on social media for even more images and video from the fun.

Announcing 2019 Make the Case for Caring Theme!

Here at Mali Rising, we want to encourage young people in the United States to think critically yet compassionately about international issues. That’s why each year we host an essay contest as a forum for thoughtful high school thinkers to share their thoughts on an international development topic. Today I’m happy to announce the theme for the 2019 Make the Case for Caring Essay Contest…

What's In a Name? School-to-School Connections!

This summer, we finalized fundraising for Mali Rising school #23 in the little village of Sankama. This was truly a group effort, with donations from high school studentswalkers, the Trujillo family, our Builders Society, support from the Pete and Arline Harman Trust, and many others. Now a school is nearly complete in Sankama, and we’re happy to announce the winner of naming rights for the school!

Bidding for Good at the Soiree!

I know I’ve done it and I bet you have too -- got carried away at a charity auction and come home with a strange carving we can't fit anywhere in our house. We shrug and tell ourselves the funds went to a good cause. So why not just directly decide where those funds will go and spare yourself donating the dusty trinket to the thrift store two years later? That's the concept behind the Auction for Action at Mali Rising's Soiree this Thursday.

School Donors Make Mothers Happy

Here at Mali Rising we often feature the students who benefit from our supporters’ generosity. Of course, many other benefit from a new school and the education it brings. So in this post we share some thoughts from a mother in the village where we are currently building our 23rd school, Kafara. Here are excerpts of what Sali had to say about the arrival of a new school for her children…

Investing in Teacher Training Pays a 23% Skill Return!

Thanks to our supporters, each year Mali Rising hosts a week-long training for our teachers. Last school year, we gathered 39 teachers from our 19 middle schools for a training where they learned from experts and grew with their teacher peers. For each training, we evaluate a subset of participating teachers before and after the training. The results are in for our 17/18 school year teacher training!

Volunteer for Team Welcome!

Looking for a fun volunteer gig this fall? We've got something fun for you! We're looking for Captains for our Team Welcome project. Captains help gather short notes of encouragement to our Mali students from people here in the U.S. We deliver these notes to our students as they start their school year off in October/November.

0 to 98%: The Mystery of the DEF Scores Continues

Looking at this year's DEF results we see something we've seen in previous years -- an incredibly wide variation in pass rates among our schools. Two schools did incredibly well with 98% of their students passing; two schools did incredibly poorly with 0% of their students passing. Nine of our 19 middle schools beat the average national pass rate this year (70%), while 10 did not.  Why this incredible variation in results?