Mohamed, 15, lives with his parents and his 8 brothers and sisters in Kel Assouk community in Gourma-Rharous, in the region of Timbuktu. In this community, many families rely on livestock for their subsistence.
Mohamed and his family fled their village in 2012 when the armed conflict erupted. They found refuge in the Goudebo camp in Burkina Faso where they stayed for 12 months. During this time, Mohamed did not have access to education.
Once back in Kel Essouk, Mohamed returned to school in form 4. Every morning, he would walk with his friends on a distance of 4 km to reach school. The resumption was more difficult as the school was in a dilapidated condition.
"My school lacked almost everything. The mats that protected us against heat and strong winds were completely deteriorated. When the wind began to blow, we received some sand in our eyes because the floor of the classroom was not coated. It was hard to concentrate when it was hot. In addition, there was almost no benches where to sit," said Mohamed.
Involvement of the community
The rehabilitation of Kel Essouk school was a priority in the Cash for Work project implemented by Plan International Mali. The whole community participated for 50 days, transporting mats, wood, bricks and clay. Plan International’s cash-for-work programme 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.
With the combined effort of all community members, children of Kel Essouk now have new classrooms and the school yard has also been fenced. Mohamed and his friends are happy, "Now we are protected against dust and hot wind. The floor of the class has been coated. 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.
Now we are protected against dust and hot wind.
About the project
The Cash for Work project is implemented by Plan International Mali with the support of Irish Aid in Goundam and Gourma Rharous areas, in the region of Timbuktu. It has improved access of vulnerable children to education and protection services through the transfer of funds.
Through this project, 932 families have ensured better learning conditions for their children. In addition, 1390 school kits have been distributed in 10 schools benefiting of the project.