Safiatou is a confident ninth grader in Mali Rising's Cliff and Nita Bailey Middle School in the tiny village of Beneko. She benefited from Mali Rising's Girls Project in her last year as a student there. 

Safiatou lives in the small village of Zelabougou with her parents and five brothers and sisters. She says, “We are a happy family.” Each morning, she bikes the 7 kilometers to school in Beneko along with a group of classmates. 

Safiatou’s confidence is supported by her track record in school. “I like scientific subjects, as well as French,” Safiatou explains. “I am not nervous about passing my DEF [graduation] exams this year, because I learn my lessons and I trust my ability.” (August 3 update: Safiatou did in fact pass her graduation exam! Only 48% of kids passed nationally, so Safiatou was right to trust her abilities.)

She would like to go all the way on to university. Safiatou has a brave vision for her future, “I want to become a policewoman to honor and free my country from jihadists.”

We asked Safiatou what she would change in the world if she could change anything. Her answer was straight-forward, although not at all simple: “If I had the power to change the world, I would make the poor rich, because poverty brings starvation, illiteracy, underdevelopment, and even death.”

But life isn’t only serious for Safiatou. She has a best friend named Kadiatou and they enjoy studying together. Safiatou does admit however that “I’m better at studying than her.” Safiatou also has a secret passion: “My passion is music and it makes me very happy.”

Safiatou has benefited from the first year of our Girls Project, and she encourages us to keep up the work: “I would like to thank Mali Rising for all the things they have been doing with us, including supporting us and interviewing us so that we can express ourselves. I would like them to continue to help us by providing us with teaching materials and to encourage us even more.”

We think Mali could probably use many more educated, music-loving, freedom-fighting policewomen, so we’re glad Safiatou is on her way and we’re glad to help more girls like her thrive. Read more student stories.