Khouloum is a village located in Kayes, a region situated in south-western Mali. The dry climate in southern Mali makes farming extremely labourous. The region suffers from one of the highest levels of child malnutrition in the country.
The SOS Social Centre in Khouloum has been operating in Mali since 2011 to provide support to caregivers and their children. Aldouma Doa has been working at the centre from the very beginning. She explains that she joined SOS Children to make a direct impact on her neighbour’s lives.
“Every day, I see children and families who need help. Things only worsened in 2012 with the drought. I did not want to stand on the side-lines. I wanted to work with vulnerable families in my community and make a difference – provide resources and education, and break the cycle of poverty,” says Aldiouma.
A mended future
A broken arm almost prevented Aminata and her siblings from returning to school. In 2011, Aminata had an awful fall that required urgent medical assistance. The doctor informed her that she had broken her arm in several places and required a cast and special care.
Aminata’s parents used their savings to cover the cost of the health care. The steep medical bill placed a burden on the family of seven. They had barely enough money left to purchase food, let alone pay for the children’s school fees.
Aminata, 12, and her younger brother Ousmane, 10, both dropped out of school. Aminata helped her mother sell produce at their local market, while her brother worked as a child labourer at a neighbour’s farm. Still, the family only earned enough for one small meal a day.
“When Aminata’s family arrived at the SOS Social Centre in Khouloum, they were listed as a crisis case,” explains Aldiouma, an SOS social worker. “I worked closely with the mother and father to find the best way to get them back on their feet.”
All three agreed that it was crucial that Aminata and Ousmane return to school and for the family to find a way to increase their income. Aldiouma arranged for the children to meet with the headmaster of the SOS Primary School for them to continue their education and skills training.
Growing strong and self-sufficient
Aldiouma has worked closely with Aminata’s mother, Maimouna, and her father, Mady, since they joined the Family Strengthening Programme. The family of seven live in a two bedroom home that has a small plot of land. Their house is located close to a river which fertilises the soil in the area. With the help of SOS Children, Mandy is now growing vegetables on his land.
The Social Centre provided Mady with some manure and fertiliser for his garden. Maimouna sells the crops at the market, which has significantly increased her family’s daily income. Her three youngest children come to the market with her as they are too young to be in school.
“It’s great to see the family’s progress. There is still a lot to be done before they are able to become independent, but they are well on their way,” says Aldiouma. “I will continue working with them until they are able to exit the programme.”
SOS Children’s Villages Kayes
SOS Children started operating in Kayes in 2011, in response to the number of children who needed care. A year later, Kayes was affected by an extreme food crisis. Children and their families were at of a famine. SOS Children responded immediately and offered emergency food aid to families. We focuses on efforts on young children and new mothers.
Our SOS Social Centre works directly with local residents to empower the community. The Family Strengthening Programme supports over 90 families and their children to prevent child abandonment within the community.
The best way to make an impact is through empowerment. Discover how you can empower vulnerable children, families and communities through SOS Children.