11 August 2007

The Mali Project: How it all began - the first school

Two weeks ago I was writing on the development situation and some background of Mali. Now I'd like to dive deeper into the Mali Project. Before we come to the concept and current projects, read how the whole project began:

Paul Currie (Co-founder of Reach and film director) met Youchaou Traore whilst in Mali filming a documentary on child trafficking. Paul was inspired by the strength, vision and dedication of Youchaou - at this time translator next to being a teacher - in wanting to help his community. Youchaou had grown up an orphan, on the streets, so he understood the hardships his community faced and how precious it was to get an education. Paul could see that a little bit would go a long way and he committed to making Youchaou’s dream of a school a reality. He returned to Australia and inspired the Reach Crew to help.

The Australian young people lead by Elise Klein emailed this man, Youchaou Traore and told him they wanted to help. This was the start of a three year long relationship built only through emails where the young people set out to raise the money needed for the primary school. AUD$50 000 later, the school was completed. 130 students were enrolled in the first year. It has been labelled one the best schools in Mali and is available to the poorest of the poor.

On a self-funded trip, a small team of Reach Crew with the support of a Reach staff member and corporate supporter, visited the Kalabankoro community in late 2005 to gain first hand experience of the situation and to meet the community they had raised money to help.

In 2006, the Australian young people raised over AUD$70 000 to get the school to its final phase of a secondary school to accommodate students completing their secondary studies. 2006 also saw the creation of a micro finance organisation for Kalabankoro women to help generate economic development in the area. Again in late 2006 a self funded trip was organised to visit Kalabankoro community. In 2007 a community health centre was started in temporary rented premises.

See this inpiring video from a visit at the Mali Project from an earlier post. More about our plans on scaling up this great project soon...