Conflict-affected families in Mali can now afford to send their children to school thanks to a cash for work project.
Mohamed, 15, lives with his parents and 8 brothers and sisters in Timbuktu, Mali. In his community, many families rely on livestock farming to help make ends meet.
Mohamed and his family fled their village in 2012 when an armed conflict erupted. They found refuge in the Goudebo refugee camp in Burkina Faso where they stayed for 12 months.
Conflicts affect children’s education
During this time, Mohamed was not able to go to school.
Once they returned to their village, went back to school. Every morning, he would walk the 4 kilometre distance to get to school, which was in a dilapidated state.
“My school lacked almost everything. The mats that protected us against heat and strong winds had rotten. When the wind began to blow, we got sand in our eyes because the floor of the classroom was not covered. It was hard to concentrate when it was hot. In addition, there were almost no benches for us to sit on,” says Mohamed.
Rehabilitating Mohamed’s school was a priority for Plan International and the focal point of our cash for work project which connects community members with short-term employment so they can earn an income, provide for their children and participate in the development of their communities.
Earning money and repairing schools
The project is implemented in Goundam and Gourma Rharous in the region of Timbuktu. It has supported over 900 families and has resulted in the rehabilitation of 10 schools.
For 50 days, the whole community worked together transporting mats, wood, bricks and clay. With the combined effort of all community members, children in Mohamed’s village now have new classrooms, and the school yard has been fenced.
Mohamed and his friends are happy with their new school environment.
“Now we are protected against dust and hot wind. The floor of the class has been covered. In addition to that, we have new school supplies. Plan International Mali gave me this new bag, these books and other materials.”
Mohamed wants to continue school, acquire more knowledge and become a teacher to train future executives of Mali.