By Merritt Frey, Executive Director
As we all know, it can take a long time for the investment of education to show the real-life kind of returns it promises. Because of this, we try to follow up with Mali Rising alumni whenever possible to find out how they use their education and how they view education’s role in their lives. Today, I would like to share the thoughts of one of our alumnus who graduated a full nine years ago — Bakari. Thanks to Mali Rising’s supporters, Bakari has a great trade — electrician — and dreams of passing on the gift of education to kids in his home village.
“My name is Bakari Dembélé. I’m 27 years old. I’m not currently living with my parents in the village. I’m living in Bamako. We are seven in our family born by the same biological parents. I’m single; I am not married yet.
I went to school in Tanima [Mali Rising’s Little Heroes Academy II]. English was my favorite subject when I was student. The reason why I loved English was because I mastered English already when I was in the primary school. I succeed at my DEF exam [the national middle school graduation exam] in the year 2009/2010. After the DEF exam, I attended a professional school and graduated from that school after two years. There I qualified as an electrician.
Studies helped me a lot. I have never gone jobless since my graduation. First, after my graduation, I got an internship during which I was already making money, because people called me for little works. Second, I made industrial electricity and rewinding. Owing to that, I’m now able to work not only in factories, but also outside.
Right now, I’m on leave, but my plan is to retire from the factory and work on my own. I would like to start a breeding business. I have been working on that project for 3 years. Getting retired from the factory and working for my own is something which is very important for me. Working in a factory is not more advantageous than working form himself, because factory is like a business; you make profit for someone else. That’s why I would to open my own business.
If I compare our times when going to school to today, I will say children are not as interested in studying. In my opinion, we must all come together to help kids get education and take it seriously so that they can be self-reliant one day. What I have noticed today with our kids is even if they go to school, they have hard time mastering what they learned, which is the contrary of the purpose of education. My wish is that we give those kids an excellent education to be self-reliant.
When I get rich, I will focus all my helping on kids, mainly those from my hometown -- building a school for them to get good education. I will also like to open business for those who won’t be able to be educated. So, my goal is to help kids who can’t work because of lack of diploma. That’s why I would open my business to give to kids like those the chance to work. My goal is to have those kinds of business set up in villages to help get prosperity, because many kids will have the chance to work.
My last words go to my village. I pray to God to strengthen me and all those helpers to be able to keep helping my village grow.”