April is Alumni Month At Mali Rising!

By Merritt Frey, Executive Director

 Abdou, a proud graduate of Mali Rising's Sue Chung Chiu Middle School and current university student.

Abdou, a proud graduate of Mali Rising's Sue Chung Chiu Middle School and current university student.

April is Alumni Month here at Mali Rising. Each week in April, we feature a story from one of our graduates. With 14 years of work behind us, our graduates are now doing great things out in the world. Whether they're using their education in college or a job, or to be more savvy in the market or to keep their children healthy, we're proud of our alumni.

This week we feature Abdou. Abdou Doumbia just might be Mali Rising’s first alumnus philosopher. Truly.

Abdou graduated from Mali Rising’s Sue Chung Chiu Middle School in 2011. The school is located in the tiny town of Simidji. Before Sue Chung Chiu Middle School was built, children had nowhere to go for education after primary school – they were forced to be 6th grade drop outs.

Abdou says, “My life is very different from what it would have been if I had not gone to school, because I would be in the village cultivating the fields, or going to gold mining mines, or even just in the village. I might even have been forced into illegal immigration.”

“My life is very different from what it would have been if I had not gone to school, because I would be in the village cultivating the fields, or going to gold mining mines, or even just in the village. I might even have been forced into illegal immigration.”

But the donors of Sue Chung Chiu Middle School – Hazel and Albert Fong – saved Abdou from each of those fates.  Just as Abdou faced a forced drop out in 2008, we built a middle school in his village. He loved school, and thrived there. His favorite subject was – and is – English. 

“The education has helped me a lot in life. For example, there is very big difference between an educated and an ignorant man. An educated man always makes good decisions because he has the will, the ability, and the experience that an ignorant man does not,” says Abodou.

Today, Abdou is still studying. At 23, he lives in Mali’s capital city of Bamako and studies philosophy at university. He says, “I am studying philosophy because it allows a man to have a clear and critical mind, to never accept anything without proof.”

While Mali Rising didn’t set out to create philosophers, we believe a country needs philosophers just as much as they need farmers, doctors, or politicians. Heck, maybe today we need philosophers more than ever!  

Read up on other alumni stories on our Alumni Reunion page and stay tuned to this blog for more new alumni stories each week in April.