Hear Her Story: Diakassan

This is a story about Diakassan.

Diakassan is one of the success stories of the ACFA program in Mali. Since arriving at ACFA, Diakassan has excelled in both her studies and her extra curriculum activities. Like so many other children in Mali, Diakassan's family could not provide her with basic human needs such as education, proper nutrition, and health care due to extreme poverty. Many young girls like Diakassan are forced to quit school due to financial constraints. When Diakassan came to ACFA, she barely had two meals a day and was not attending school since there was no one to pay for her fees. In poverty stricken families where help is needed, girls are often the first ones withdrawn from school and reduced to child labor, making them extremely vulnerable to exploitation. They may be coerced into unsafe labor practices where they are often forced to work long hours under dangerous conditions in exchange for food. Some are sent away from home, exposing them to stigma and stress. ACFA gave Diakassan the opportunity to attend school and engage in sports programs.

Since coming to live at ACFA, Diakassan has excelled in her studies (earning outstanding grades) as well as her Taekwondo practice (earning 5 medals in competition to date). Thanks to the support of ACFA and her performance in martial arts, Diakassan earned a spot with the national team. Without ACFA, Diakassan would have been sent by her impoverished parents to work or to beg for sustenance.  ACFA has provided Diakassan a safe, comfortable place to live and she now has a future that has been re-written and is filled with hope. Diakassan is particularly happy that all of her major worries have been resolved since joining ACFA, particularly when thousands of little girls just like her are still homeless and uneducated. ACFA’s education, and recreation programs have provided Diakassan with a valuable foundation for bridging the gap from probable street life to formal education, helping her to regain her self-esteem and allowing her to have dreams about her future.

Teresa Jones
Mali’s Minister of Economy, Finance and Budget Visits D.C.

Spring of 2016

On a visit to Washington D.C., Mali’s Minister of Economy, Finance and Budget, attended IMF and the World Bank’s Spring Meetings.  Meeting with leadership of both institutions discussions ventured on the progress of the latter’s interventions in Mali and some regional programs. The Minister took this opportunity to reinsure all partners on the efforts Mali is making to stabilize the country’s situation, and the transitional government’s commitment to organize Presidential elections in July of this year. The Minister re-iterated the same to other partners whom he has met during his stay in the National Capital.

Meeting with Diaspora under the hospice of the Ambassador Al Maamoun Keita, the Minister provided fresh news from Mali. According to the Minister, Military is still engaged with terrorists in the North. In the meantime, the Government and all stakeholders are discussing ways to ensure fair and transparent elections in July. The good news is that most partners have or are in the process of reestablishing their cooperation with Mali.  Fortunately, ACFA’s activities have never stopped, including the Zorokoro Complex Project which is on track for a completion this summer. This project will enable to support more vulnerable children.

The United States’ authorities have pledged to support Mali in organizing elections which will lead to reestablishing full cooperation.

Teresa Jones
A Safe Mali

After having been occupied for months by rebels and extremists, Mali went to war to re-conquer two-thirds of its territory.  As President Obama once said, ”… no matter how justified, war promises human tragedy”.

In Mali, that human tragedy is exponentially extended because (1) the country is one of the poorest countries in the world, and (2) the vulnerable children of Mali are now even more marginalized and used as child soldiers.  The socio-political and economic situation in Mali in 2012, the military coup, and the rebels and the Islamist extremists’ occupation of two-thirds of the country have all shaken ACFA’s vision of “A Mali where all children are protected, safe, healthy, well-nourished, provided a home and an outstanding education that will allow them to be productive and contribute to the social and economic development of the country.”

ACFA has adjusted its strategy to support more vulnerable children in the country.  Your donation will go a long way to help us expand our capacity so that we can achieve our mission “To bring hope to Mali's Vulnerable Children by securing for them a brighter future through the delivery of our programs: nutritious food, health care, safe shelter and education.”

Construction is underway for our new complex which will allow us to quadruple our capacity.  Please consider telling your friends and family about our project - share our web- link on your blogs or social networks, use the tell-a-friend feature on our website to email your network, or just bring us up in conversation.

Teresa Jones