Our three SOS Schools in Mopti, Sanankoroba and Kita in southern Mali currently provide an education for 2,600 primary and secondary students, in addition to 400 younger children in our nursery schools.
Working together with the local authorities, SOS Children recently welcomed 73 children who have fled from their homes in Northern Mali into our primary schools, 61 to our secondary schools and smaller children into our nursery.
As the children had left their homes quickly and fled to the south, they took few belongings and arrived at the SOS School with little or none of their usual equipment. The Director of the SOS School in Mopti, Soungalo Mariko, says: “In most cases they have arrived with nothing, the parents or the children caregivers lack the means to cover the basic, let alone school registration, and uniforms.” SOS Children have provided the new students with regular exercise books, pens, textbooks and school uniforms.
SOS Children are also ensuring that all of the displaced children attending the SOS Schools have access to medical services provided by the three nurses at the SOS Children’s Villages close by to the schools.
Re-establishing school routines and offering educational activities in a child-friendly environment as soon as possible after difficult times is essential for children. It gives their parents some time to recover. It is also an opportunity to identify whether there are any child protection concerns and to monitor the children’s basic needs.
The situation in Mopti
In Mopti, there are currently 4,638 displaced individuals, and the figure is expected to rise to 10,000 in the coming weeks. Many children who have arrived are separated from their parents and are in the care of extended family members.
Three children who now attend the SOS School in Mopti are amongst those who fled the violence in the north. They currently live with fifteen others under one roof. Mr. Cissé, the father of two of the children and the guardian of the other, took on responsibility for thirteen children in his extended family, taking them to safety in the south whilst the parents stayed at home. Their trip south was long and painful. The travelled by road from Kidal to Gao, in various trucks. They then took a “pinasse” (a traditional flat fishing vessel) over the river from Gao to Mopti, taking several days due to the current dry season and low water levels. On their arrival, staff from the SOS School approached the family to offer the children an education, and three of the children in the group now attend the SOS School in Mopti, where they get a free meal for lunch and a good education.
Children evacuated from SOS Children’s Village Mopti
Last month, the children and SOS mothers living in the SOS Children’s Village Mopti were evacuated as a preventive measure in the aftermath of the advances of armed groups further south. They are now living at the other two SOS Children’s Villages in Sanankoroba and Kita. You can read an update on their situation.
SOS Children in Mali
SOS Children have been working in Mali since 1987. We have three SOS Children's Villages in Mali, one SOS Youth Home, three SOS Schools, three SOS Nurseries, and six SOS Social Centres, which work to keep vulnerable families together. Find out more about our work in Mali.