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Transforming Lives

Speeches Shim

Alassane Berthe, Okra Farmer, Sanoubougou, Mali.

The saying “land does not deceive anyone” has become the motto of Alassane Berthe, a farmer who works on the lush green landscape in Sanoubougou village located in Mali’s southern region of Sikasso. While many young people in the region are tempted by urban migration, or work in traditional gold mining sites where they risk their lives, Berthe decided to stay with his family and invest in the land.

2nd grade ECOM Fadjiguila

The school environment for many young Malian children is not conducive to learning to read. Overcrowded classrooms; poorly trained and poorly paid teachers; lack of books, materials and space; no electricity; very little access to preschool; and no books at home are only a few of the obstacles children have to face.


Parents in the Dongoni village of southern Mali had no contact with their community school and were not aware of the importance of following up on their children’s progress. Attendance and achievement were both low, particularly for girls, who were often occupied with household tasks.

Mafoune Dembele and her teacher Keita Kadiatou Doumbia

At 11 years old, Mafoune Dembele is a bright and confident sixth grader in Bamako, Mali. Because she suffers from a visual impairment, she used to stay late at school to finish her work because she was slow in writing, much slower than the other students.

Fatouma Walet Rhissa is proud to wear her first backpack

Despite the poverty and conflict around them, students grasp on to some sense of normalcy at the Baye Ag Mahaha school located in Mali’s Kidal region. In the northern regions of the country, many schools have been destroyed, closed or occupied by fighting factions. Kidal town recorded 264 students who had dropped out during the crisis. Their return to school motivates the entire community.