Making Progress in Mali

Posted on | June 9, 2014 | 2 Comments

Last fall, we raised $84,000 for buildOn to construct schools in two villages in rural Mali.  We are excited to share that the villages broke ground for their schools in May and should soon be complete. We are also excited to share a little more about each village and the children you are helping to educate.

Mali map


One school is being built in Menie, a village that didn’t previously have any kind of school building. Menie was founded about 800 years ago in the Sikasso region of Mali. Villagers raise grains, peanuts and cotton and earn income from small trade and animal breeding. In the past, children had to walk six kilometers each way to get to school, so the construction of a school in Menie itself will have a huge impact.

Menie groundbreaking with chief

The village chief officially breaks ground for the new school.

Menie cement mixing

Community members mix cement for the new school.

Two students who will attend the new school are 11-year-old Lassina Togola and 14-year-old Mamou Togola. Lassina is the first in his family to attend school. His favorite subject is math and he wants to be a policeman when he grows up. Mamou’s mother went to school through grade 3, but her father never attended. Her favorite subjects are history and geography and she wants to be a teacher.

Lassina Togola

Lassina Togola

Mamou Togola

Mamou Togola


The other school is being constructed in the village of Folona, also in the Sikasso region of Mali. Villagers raise crops such as peanuts, corn, millet and rice and earn income from gardening and raising animals. Folona currently has a school that looks like this:

Folona old school

Existing school building in Folona.

The school we have funded will replace the one above.  Currently 125 students attend the school – 58 boys and 67 girls – and three teachers teach classes.

Folona goundbreaking

Community members sign a covenant at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Folona school

Progress on the new Folona school.

Toma Bagayoko is a 14-year-old who is the first in his family to attend school. Currently in grade 6, his favorite subject is biology and he hopes to be a doctor. Sali Traore is a 15-year-old in Folona who is also in grade 6. Both of her parents are literate, but her father dropped out of school in grade 7. Her favorite subject is math and she hopes to be a math teacher when she is older.

Toma Bagayoko

Toma Bagayoko

Sali Traore

Sali Traore

Thanks to all of you, Toma, Sali, Lassina, Mamou and all of their classmates will have the opportunity to further their educations and fulfill their dreams.

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2 Responses to “Making Progress in Mali”

  1. Travel Plans for the Second Half of 2014 | Katie Aune
    June 22nd, 2014 @ 5:51 pm

    […] Mali, visiting the villages of Menie and Folona in the southeastern part of the country to see the schools that buildOn built with the funds we raised through Passports with Purpose last December. I will spend a night in each […]

  2. Experiencing Pre Trip Jitters | Travel to West Africa
    November 22nd, 2014 @ 8:10 pm

    […] on my way over. And, of course, the fact that I will get to see firsthand the difference that Passports with Purpose and buildOn have made in two villages in southern Mali is really exciting. If it wasn’t for that, […]

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