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Education is the beginning of change

Barouéli is one of the poorest communities in Mali, which, in turn, is one of the poorest countries in the world. But since our projects began this Spring, work is under way to provide children and families in this rural African village with the tools they need to break the cycle of poverty. It's a long-term undertaking, but with your help, we're investing in change that will last.

With few local schools and low levels of literacy in Barouéli, education is one of the community's top priorities for development. Thanks to sponsors like you, over 50 girls and boys are now enrolled in the community's first preschool. Five hectares of land have been put aside for the construction of a primary school that will begin early next year, and parents and children are getting directly involved through the formation of school committees. The community has also elected local mothers to work in the schools and is holding outreach sessions on the value of educating all the boys and girls in the community.

"I will make sure my daughters are educated," says Assitan, one local mother. "I never had the chance to go to school, but my girls will learn to read and write."

Because community-led change is at the heart of our approach, we've been assisting the village Chief with monthly assemblies that bring the entire community together to learn about development and get involved in Plan's projects.

"I am old," Chief Ze Diarra says with a smile, "so my role is to organize the community and give advice to the young. I tell them how good these projects are for our village and how lucky we are to have Plan. And because of these meetings, everyone is participating. Before, women would never speak in front of men, but now we are all discussing the future of our community together."

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