The situation in Mali has been very difficult in the last few years because of ongoing attacks by a number of terrorist groups. These happen mainly in the North of the country, far from the capital Bamako where our initiative is located. But the whole country is affected and the level of poverty remains high. Fortunately in spite of it all, our children continue to attend dance classes which also include singing, drumming and storytelling. The troupe has just finished rehearsing for their next show, called ‘Mariage Précoce’ (early marriage). The choreography centers around the dangers of getting married too soon, especially for young girls who have to quit school when they get pregnant, sometimes when they’re only 14 years old, often ending up living under harsh conditions. So it is especially addressed to girls, hoping that they and their families will understand the message and the need for all children to be in school for as long as possible. The troupe was just getting ready to perform in different public places and neighbourhoods in Bamako when the pandemic struck. For the time being, the tour has been postponed.
One good news is the launching of a new tutoring program. Tutoring had been put on hold for a variety of reasons, mainly because the tutors we had trained and hired were not acting in a professional manner. The new program was designed by a Canadian woman, Sylvaine Von Mende and is now used in many schools in Mali. It is an interactive audio program consisting of 360 radio segments. It is a 3-year program, with 120 segments per year. The teaching of reading and writing is done through songs and visual aids. Two new tutors have been trained on how to deliver the program to our students. We are very excited with this new development and we hope it is going to be very helpful for the dancers regarding their mastery of French, the language that is being taught at school.