Year-End Review for 2016

Dear Build a School in Africa Supporters,

All in all, 2016 was another good year for this small, all-volunteer organization. The Build a School in Africa project is still going strong – by early spring we had finished our 15th school, in Tiogola, and our 16th, in Nimporodioula (villages in southern Mali, in West Africa).

New school at Tiogola, our 15th

New school at Tiogola, our 15th

The school in Tiogola was mostly financed by the international fan clubs of a Korean “boy band” called Super Junior in honor of its 10th anniversary. They are now raising funds for an 11th anniversary school project. They got a late start, so my trip to Mali has been moved forward to January.

Inside a new classroom in Tiogola

Inside a new classroom in Tiogola

In January, 2016, in Nimporodioula, the temporary shelters made of straw mats lashed to a pole framework were replaced by durable cinder-block classrooms, creating much better learning environments for the students. This was the third school mostly financed by a California tech company, which had also built schools in NʼGolokouna and Gongasso in the previous two years.

A makeshift, open-air classroom in Nimporodioula where children took classes before the new school was built

A makeshift, open-air classroom in Nimporodioula where children took classes before the new school was built

In January 2017, weʼll break ground on school #17, in the community of Doumanaba. Presently, Doumanaba is holding 3 classes in the dismal building pictured below. These were built as storerooms used for grain and cotton, not as schools. We will be building 3 new classrooms for the community. Villagers will be providing the usual “in kind” contributions of land, sand and gravel, and unskilled labor, and also some cash funding for the third classroom, as our usual $15,000 contribution will build just two classrooms, plus an office, storage room, and latrines. As you can imagine, the people of Doumanaba will be very happy to trade this building for a bright new school like the others on this page.

Building in Doumanaba where children are attending school. It was originally built as a warehouse and does not have adequate light or ventilation.

Building in Doumanaba where children are attending school. It was originally built as a warehouse and does not have adequate light or ventilation.

We are grateful to all our donors, large and small; large contributions have enable us to build two schools a year for the last few years, but they would not have been possible without the support of all of you. As they say in Bambara, “Dooni dooni kononi be nyaga da” – “Little by little the bird builds its nest.”

Our benefit trail ride on August 21, 2016. We had 40 riders, who could choose to ride 7, 15, or 20 miles of beautiful woods trails, followed by a home-cooked 5 course African buffet dinner. The youngest rider (on the black horse) was only 4 years old, and she rode 15 miles. Our oldest rider was 80.

Many thanks for your support! We couldn’t do it without you.

Very best wishes for a happy holiday season and a joyful new year.

Judy Lorimer, Abou Coulibaly, Madou Traore, and Matt Heberger

View from the road of the new school in Nimporodioula, our 16th

View from the road of the new school in Nimporodioula, our 16th

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Shout out to ELF!

We’ve gotten word from ELF, the International Super Junior Fan Club,  that they will be supporting Build a School in Africa again this year. In 2015, clubs around the world raised enough to fund our 14th new school, benefiting deserving children in Mali, West Africa.

Thank you ELF! Good luck with your fundraising! The children of Mali will be so grateful for their beautiful new school!

ELF chapters around the world hope to raise enough money to build a new school dedicated to our favorite K-Pop idols.

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Brick by Brick

The Lincoln Journal, in Massachusetts, published a great article about how a group of local students is raising money to help us build schools in Africa.

Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School Africa Club members, from left, (back) Nate Bennett, Ben Yamron, Aidan Doyle, Rachel Cook (adviser), Melissa Shen (adviser), (middle) Gabby Massey, Molly Clements, Alice Clements, Sydney Wry, Larsen Henken, Lauren Mandt, Jess Puopolo, Sarah Reilly, Ceci Barnes, (front) Leanne Fitzpatrick, Anna Mae Frey, Annie Levoy, Gracie Keilen, Kenzie Madden and McShane Sneath.  COURTESY PHOTO

Since its start in 2011, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School’s Schools for Africa Club has been fundraising to build a school in Mali, West Africa — a country with one of the lowest literacy rates on the continent.

The student-run group is trying to raise $25,000 to erect a school to accommodate more than 100 students through the nonprofit organization Build a School in Africa, which has raised funds and built a new school every year in Mali since 2005.

Read the full story here.

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Updated Brochure for Build a School in Africa!

We’ve just published a new, updated brochure about Build a School in Africa. In it, learn about how we’ve built 14 schools since 2002 and how you can help improve education for children in Mali, West Africa.

It’s designed to be a trifold, 2-sided brochure. Please download, print, or share. You can use it at fundraisers or to tell your friends about Build a School in Africa!

Download Brochure (250K PDF, updated February 2016)

Download brochure Download brochure

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2015 Year-End Update

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First graders in temporary classroom in Kounfouna

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Students in Kounfouna

When donating to projects like ours, people often wonder about the long-term results: will this school still exist in a few years?

During my recent visit to Mali, I had a chance to visit all the schools we have built since 2012, and am happy to report that all are flourishing. Getting a new school is a powerful instrument of change in these small rural communities.

The tiny village of Kounfouna is an outstanding example. There was no school at all until they started a first grade class in 2012. In early 2013 we built two classrooms, plus office and latrines, and when I visited in November of 2013, they had a first and second grade, with one teacher shuttling between the two classes. They still had no furniture; the children just sat on the cement floor.

Two years later, they have four teachers, grades 1-4, and have built two temporary classrooms for the younger grades; all the classrooms have desks and benches, with more stacked in the back of the rooms for future expected students. Like all the villages we visited, they would like to have us build more concrete classrooms.

Thanks to the 2nd grade Brownie troop in Westford, MA, which raised $1,000 in a school-wide Toy Sale, we donated school supplies to three schools: Kartioni,

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In 2016 weʼll be building two new classrooms to replace these temporary classrooms in Nimporodioula

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School supplies donated by Massachusetts Brownie Troop to three different schools

NʼGolokouna, and Gongasso, all built by BSA since early 2014. All three schools received a large dictionary, Teacherʼs Manuals for Math and Language, for grades 1-6, notebooks, several gross of pens and pencils, and 11 pounds of chalk – enough to supply them for at least 2 years.

We broke ground on Nov. 17 for our 15th school, in Tiogola, a fairly large village which already had 3 mud-brick classrooms. We will be building 2 more, and the school is already more than half finished; they are now putting on the roof.

Just before I left Mali, we met with officials in Nimporodioula, where we will be building school #16. A community of 1230, they have 162 students, 81 boys and 81 girls. They have three mud-brick classrooms, but their three temporary classrooms (above) are obviously inadequate, and we hope to build two cement classrooms early in 2016. Thanks to all our supporters for such a productive year!

Judy Lorimer, Director

Download a PDF version of our December 2015 newsletter (1 page, 270 MB).

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Thank You Super Junior Fans!

슈퍼주니어 팬들을 환영합니다! 여러분들의 성원에 감사드립니다! 이것은 많은 아프리카 소년소녀들의 삶에 커다란 변화를 주게 될 것입니다!

We are delighted that the Super Junior Global Fan Club ELF has chosen to celebrate the band’s tenth anniversary by making a gift in the band’s honor to support education in Africa. Thanks to ELF, we will be able to build a new school in the village of Tiogola, Mali this year. This incredible gift will make a big difference in the lives of so many Malian children. Thank you!

For some great coverage and reaction from the band, see this great article on the website Soompi: Super Junior’s Fans Celebrate Their 10th Anniversary Through a Gift Beyond Imagination.

And for those of you new to K-Pop, here’s a video:

 

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Toy Sale on April 18 in Westford, MA

Brownie Troop 86145 is helping us to stock the new school in Kartioni, Mali with school supplies by holding a charity fundraiser this month. Please come out to support the brownies and Build a School in Africa!

Toy Sale
April 18, 2015, 8:30 am to 12:30 pm
Rita E. Miller Elementary School
1 Mitchell Way
Westford, MA 01886

In addition to great bargains for a great cause, we will be raffling off loads of prizes including an iPod shuffle!

See the Facebook page for updates and more information on how to donate gently-used toys. A big thank you to LAER Realty Partners and Kidz Enterprise Toys for their support. Please contact Sarah Nolan at 978-692-9229 or sarah_nolan@verizon.net with questions.

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Great News! Funding for New Schools

Good news –we just got an e-mail from the tech company which donated $10,000 toward the school at N’Golokouna last year; they are donating another $10,000, which combined with the $5,000 that we are expecting from a family foundation in CA (which wishes to remain anonymous) will give us enough to build school #14, located in Gongasso. These two villages, plus Kartioni, are all in the Kapala commune, which borders Burkina Faso.

Our Malian ground team, Abou and Madou, visited Kartioni, site of #13, last Saturday and the bags of cement were delivered, (photos below) so they will start building immediately. They also visited Gongasso and met with the chief and village elders and took pictures of their present 3 classrooms — two dingy  mud-brick  rooms and one temporary shelter with straw mat walls and roof.  As soon as we get both checks, the funds will be wired to Mali and they can start building in Gongasso as well.

Unloading cement for Kartioni

Unloading cement for Kartioni

Unloading cement for Kartioni Part 2

Unloading cement for Kartioni – Part 2

Mud Brick classroom in Gongasso

Mud Brick classroom in Gongasso

Temporary classroom in Gongasso

Temporary classroom in Gongasso

 

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2014 Year-End Newsletter

Dear Build a School in Africa Supporters,

School #12 in N'Golokouna

School #12 in N’Golokouna

Thanks to some very generous donations at the end of last year, rather than wait until the end of the year we were able to wire funds in January for our 12th school, built in N’Golokouna, a village in the Kapala commune near the border with Burkina Faso. Construction started in January. This is a good time to build, because it’s the dry season, the harvests are over, and the residents are available to supply the unskilled labor that makes up part of their contribution to the project, in addition to their donation of the land, foundation stones, and sand and gravel, which are usually gathered locally. It’s also the coolest time of year, with construction pretty much finished by the time the really hot weather begins.

Summer 2014 Trail Ride

Summer 2014 Trail Ride

Our summer trail ride fundraiser was successful, with over 40 riders enjoying the beautiful trails in Groton, Massachusetts, riding 8, 14 or 20 miles on a marked trail through woods and fields, with a home-cooked African buffet dinner after the ride.

In November we were grateful recipients of a very generous grant from the Institute for World Justice, and we just wired the funds for our 13th school, for which we will break ground this week in Kartioni, about 12 miles east of Sikasso. Kartioni currently has just one cement block classroom, shared by 5th and 6th grades, one mud-brick classroom for grades 3 and 4, and classes for the youngest students are held in a vestibule elsewhere in the village.

Our new building will enable them to have all the students in one area. In a very encouraging trend, there are currently more girls than boys enrolled in school in Kartioni, and it has been our experience that wherever we have built a school, overall enrollment has increased. It is also easier to hire and retain teachers when they can teach in a bright, airy and durable new building, rather than in dark, stuffy mud-brick buildings that have to be re-plastered after every rainy season.

Our Director, Judy LoDSC01490rimer, did not take her annual visit Mali in 2014; although there have been only a few Ebola cases there, it seemed prudent to delay travel to the area until the epidemic is completely controlled. Our goal is to be able to construct our 14th school by the end of 2015.

We wish you a joyful year in 2015!

Judy Lorimer, Project Director

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