By Merritt Frey, Executive Director
One of the most exciting things we do at Mali Rising is build a new school in a new village. Seeing a school where before there was nothing but a weedy field is inspiring. Seeing kids walk into new classrooms where before they had no hope of an education is enough to make you cry. And talking with the parents about their pride in the village's new school and in their children's futures is truly life-changing.
Here at Mali Rising, we've had this incredible experience 21 times now. And we're about to head into the 22nd beautiful journey.
This fall, we've started discussions with possible partner villages. We pick our partners carefully, because we aren't just building a school together. We're launching a decades-long partnership to make sure village children receive the kind education that truly sets them on a new and better life trajectory.
When we build a school, we identify villages where children otherwise have on average a 3 to 5 mile walk one-way to school (and sometimes as much as 10 miles!). As a practical matter, this means the village's children can't attend school...especially if they are a girl, with hours of chores at home. We also make sure there are enough children to fill the classrooms (rarely a problem!) and that the new school would be supported by the local education office.
We also select a village that is ready to invest in the school. We require a 20% contribution from the village to ensure they are truly invested in the future of education in the village. In exchange, we pay 80% of the costs and coordinate the construction process.
Over the next few weeks, we'll meet with several potential partner villages. Once we select the best candidate, Mali Rising will become the village's dogged fundraising advocate until together we build a beautiful new school and fill it with the village's beautiful children.
Interested in sponsoring a school? A $55,000 donation covers a full school sponsorship (partial sponsorships (e.g., a classroom, etc.) are also available). The school donors can name the school in honor of themselves, their loved ones, their business, or anything else (reasonable rules apply) under the sun. More importantly, school sponsors become part of a vibrant partnership with their village for years to come -- building connections and friendships that are truly amazing.
If you're curious about full or partial school sponsorship, contact me to learn more about how it works and our potential partner villages!