Sponsor a child in Mali
In a country covered by desert, drought is a real problem for farming communities and the people of Mali are constantly threatened by malnutrition and starvation. SOS Children's Villages has offered vital support and resources to vulnerable children and their families since 1987.
To make a difference to a child's life, sponsor a child in Mali:
Subsistence farming leads to food insecurity
Mali is one of the poorest countries in Africa, with half the population living on less than $1 per day. Poverty and starvation are inevitable as most families depend on the insecurity of subsistence farming. This means that droughts and poor harvests make food worryingly scarce. Food insecurity is compounded by political violence, which since early 2012 has caused tens of thousands to flee the north, seeking refuge in the south and neighbouring countries.
Children afflicted malnutrition and child labour
Children in Mali lead precarious lives. Infant mortality and malnutrition is high and 1 in 3 children suffers from stunting. Extreme poverty leads to child labour, and children are often trafficked to the Ivory Coast or recruited for religious indoctrination by fundamentalists. 92% of women have been subjected to female genital mutilation, and this is often carried out before the age of 5, leading to severe psychological and medical consequences.
Our work in Mali
A lack of education in Mali has prevented families from escaping the cycle of poverty and insecurity. 26% of Malians are illiterate, and education is particularly hard to come by for women, who are often discriminated against in the educational and professional sectors. SOS Children's Villages cares for children whilst their parents are working, helping families stay together and giving children a stable and optimistic upbringing.
As a result of food shortages and drought, SOS Children's Villages opened its first Malian Children's Village in Sanankoroba, near the capital Bamako. As well as providing care to vulnerable children, we work with families affected by famine and poverty, providing support to parents so they can offer their children a stable and caring upbringing.
Kita has one of the highest incidences of malnutrition in Mali, and now more than ever, children need the support and care we can offer. As well as ensuring that children have adequate nutrition, healthcare and education, SOS Children's Villages offers guidance and literacy programmes for parents.
The recent violence in northern Mali meant that children from our Village in Socoura near Mopti were evacuated south. The situation has become a lot more stable in recent months, and in July 2013, the children were able to return home to Mopti. We are currently running an emergency relief programme from Mopti and we aim to help 10,000 of the internally displaced people who have settled here.
Our most recent Children's Village in Mali opened in the south-western town of Kayes, in a commune called Khouloum. We began work here in 2011 due to the huge scale of need. A year later, we began emergency work following a devastating food crisis which left many families across the region in danger of starvation. Today, we provide a home for the area's most vulnerable children, and help local farmers ensure they maintain sustainable food supplies which will last during times of scarcity.
Life in a Children's Village: Adama's story
Adama had a tough start in life. Before she was born, her father left her pregnant mother. Her mother went on to suffer mental health problems, and abandoned Adama when she was only a few months old.
Her extended family did their best to care for her while more permanent arrangements were made. Eventually, Adama was taken in by her aunt, but her aunt died five months later. Her grandmother then took on the care responsibilities, but, two years later, she passed away as well.
Adama found herself in the care of another aunt. However, her uncle branded Adama an “evil child” and would not allow his wife back in the house until she got rid of Adama. Her aunt would not abandon her, and instead applied to the authorities, who contacted SOS Children. We found a place for her in our Children's Village in Socoura, near the town of Mopti.
Adama was six when she came into our care. Her ordeal had obviously taken its toll. She was stunted and malnourished, and her speech was underdeveloped. Her SOS mother, Brigitte, said: “She was not able to do anything - her arms were just like rags.”
The healing process took time. By the time Adama reached nine, she still looked like a child of five. But with love and care, she gradually blossomed into a healthy, happy child. She has yet to catch up fully, but she is certainly getting there.
SOS Children in Mali
Association des Villages d'Enfants SOS du Mali
Tel: +223/20 28 57 60, +223/20 28 96 63
Fax: +223/20 28 32 88