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SOS sponsored child in Mali
People in Mali face recurrent droughts and food shortages. The situation in Mali has been exacerbated by political violence which has forced tens of thousands to flee their homes. SOS Children's Villages works in three locations across the country, and has recently launched emergency relief in Mali to protect families affected by the fighting. … more about our charity work in Mali

Mali: A long journey

SOS children, mothers and aunts arrive at their new village homes
SOS children, mothers and aunts arrive at their new village homes

The 140 children who were evacuated from their SOS Children village at Socoura Mopti, Mali, because of the threat of rebels moving in their direction had a long and difficult journey before they reached the safety of SOS Children’s Villages Kita and Sanankoroba 900km away. Their bus had a puncture and they had to wait at the side of the road for 11 hours before help arrived.

SOS mother Salimata Ouedraogo describes what happened on Sunday 1 April:

“At 8am the village delegate for SOS mothers arrived at our family house. She informed me about the gravity of the situation in northern Mali and that we were leaving. She was speaking in veiled terms, not to alarm the children. We packed in haste as the bus had already arrived.

“At noon the family got in the bus and left through Bamako for Kita, 900km away. After a few hours’ drive, right in the middle of the bush, the wheel of the bus had a puncture. We had to wait on the side of the road for repair to come. We waited for 11 hours.Mali CV evacuation - children at new CVs

“Everyone, the children, the SOS mothers and the aunts, we were all tired, exhausted, thirsty and hungry; we were all resting lying on the ground as it was hot. Around 3am we could depart again with still seven hours’ driving ahead. Finally we arrived at Kita. The SOS mothers, aunts, the director of the village, the educators and staff were waiting for us in the big courtyard to welcome us.

“The family spirit is alive – we are all one same family at SOS Children’s Villages. I cook with the SOS mothers, we eat together, we watch TV and we talk with the children. It’s as if we have been together before.”

Fourteen-year-old Kadiatou, from the evacuated village, says: “I brought all my school books. I like the new family we’re staying with. They made room for us.”

Normally, SOS Children’s Village Kita cares for 267 children in 15 family houses; SOS Children’s Village Sanankoroba cares for 391 children in 14 houses. Read more about our work in Mali.