$10 for an education in Mali

“When you educate a man you educate one person, when you educate a woman you educate an entire family.” – African Proverb

Passports with Purpose is an annual travel blogger fundraiser to raise funds for a specific project in the developing world. The 2013 fundraiser has a goal of raising $115,000 to build three schools in southern Mali through  Jim Ziolkowski wrote a piece for Passports with Purpose on The Transformative Power of Travel and how he came to found buildOn.

Hyatt Gold Passport sponsored Loyalty Traveler with a raffle prize of 110,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points. This is one of many raffle prizes available for a $10 donation.

The raffle is a 14-day event and this is Day 7. Only $17,300 is posted on the fundraiser banner today. That has me concerned that this year’s fundraiser will be the first to not reach its goal.

Please take a look at the prizes and make a donation, if you possibly can.

What’s Up in Mali

If you asked me a year ago about the country of Mali in West Africa, I could have told you two things. One is Timbuktu has amazing historic earthen architecture constructed of sun-dried mud bricks. I have seen photos and this is one of the places I hope to visit some day.

The other thing I knew about Mali was the annual music festival, Festival in the Desert, that attracted western rock stars like Bono and Robert Plant.

Fighting in northern Mali over the past two years resulted in the destruction of many of the ancient mud-brick mosques in Timbuktu. 

Work begins on repairing and rebuilding Timbuktu’s cultural heritage

© UNESCO/S. TounkaraDjingareyber Mosque in Timbuktu

The Djingareyber Mosque in Timbuktu received a new façade this month as activities began in earnest to rehabilitate the city’s cultural heritage. The start of the repair work followed a visit to the site from August 14 to 16 by Bruno Maiga, Mali’s Minister for Culture, and experts from UNESCO’s Bamako office.

The Djingareyber Mosque is the largest of three mosques at the World Heritage site and shelters two of the 14 mausoleums destroyed by the groups of armed rebels that occupied the city earlier this year. No maintenance work could be carried out on the earthen structure during the occupation, heightening the risk of serious degradation.
Along with the rendering work on the mosque, a series of architectural studies were started and costs estimated for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of other damaged cultural property in the city. These tasks are being undertaken by Malian architects and technicians employed by the Ministry of Culture, under the National Cultural Heritage Directorate, with financial support from UNESCO.
The work on the mosque is one of a range of activities to rehabilitate all of the destroyed mausoleums, the El Farouk monument, the Ahmed Baba Manuscript Centre and other cultural property and intangible cultural heritage.  Local communities are being closely associated with all phases of this work.

Work begins on repairing and rebuilding Timbuktu’s cultural heritage. UNESCO August 23, 2013.

While the destruction of ancient architectural treasures received some media coverage, the loss of schools was another destructive force in the fighting.

During the occupation, many schools in Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal were destroyed.

The occupation of parts of northern Mali by armed groups earlier this year had an alarming impact on the region’s education system, concluded a mission to the region by UNESCO and the government of Mali, which took place from 18 to 23 October. It found that schools in and around Timbuktu were barely operational, while those in Gao and Kidal had not been able to reopen at all.

During the occupation, many schools in Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal were destroyed. The mission observed that much of the educational infrastructure was vandalized or pillaged. School furniture was destroyed and used as fuel; electric and digital equipment (generators, cables, servers, computers, and printers ), books and laboratory material were damaged or burned.

Schools in northern Mali are barely functioning, concludes mission by UNESCO and Government of Mali.

UNESCO Report – November 19, 2013

Passports with Purpose is working with to raise money for building schools in the Sikasso region of Mali, some 850 km to the south, more than 500 miles from the war zone. In view of the destruction of schools in the north, government funding is certainly limited for construction of schools in the south. Mali is a poor country in crisis.

In view of this alarming situation, UNESCO and Mali are launching an appeal to raise funding for a public awareness campaign and bonuses to help teachers return to their posts in the north. An inventory of damage to education facilities will also be undertaken. The mission recommended the establishment of social and psychological support services for teachers, parents and students who have suffered trauma because of the crisis. It is also recommending the launch of a national literacy campaign, with a specific focus on women, to help them understand the importance of sending their children, notably girls, to school.

Schools in northern Mali are barely functioning, concludes mission by UNESCO and Government of Mali.

Passports with Purpose is helping buildOn with its school construction and literacy campaign in Mali and the education of girls and women.

Education is vital in advancing a society.

Festival au Désert, Jan 11-14, 2014, Still In Exile

Music transcends and bridges the cultural divide. French is the dominant non-African language spoken in Mali.

Festival au Desert

Festival au Désert

Robert Plant, formerly lead singer for Led Zeppelin, has been posting a video series this past month from his January 2003 visit to Mali entitled Zirka, Malian journey to and from the Festival in the Desert.

The videos are primarily a soundtrack of Malian music with video footage of the countryside and towns and gatherings. Kind of like a vacation video series.



About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »