Feb 13, 2017

Update on Bantam school project

Bantam School
Bantam School

Dear Supporters of our Bantam school construction project on Global Giving:

 

I wanted to send you an update on our Bantam school construction project of 2016/17, Caravan to Class’ 10th school construction project in village around Timbuktu since 2010.

I’m excited to report that we have completed construction and will be inaugurating the Bantam school in a few weeks. Thanks to your generous donations, more that 120 children will now have the opportunity to receive an education in an actual school building. This brings us one step closer to Caravan To Class’ primary goal of bringing education, hope, and progress to thousands of children in villages around Timbuktu. 

The village of Bantam was founded in the 1600s by a Tuareg woman (as the story goes) who moved from the Gao region of Mali to find a place on the side of the Niger river not far from the trading town of Timbuktu. This village of close to 700 residents is composed of ethnic Songhays, Peuls (cattle-herders), Bozos (fisherman) and Tuareg. The principal economic activity of the village is fishing and animal herding. Sixty percent of the population is under the age of 30 years. 

In addition to the new school, I am also pleased to tell you we have implemented a Female Adult Literacy program in Bantam, as well. It is our hope that, through providing literacy and education for the mothers of the children who can now attend school, education will be seen as a priority within the family. 

 2017 looks to be another busy year for Caravan to Class. We are developing a scholarship program to send girls from the rural villages where we work on to middle and high school, and possibly one day to university.  Our schools finish at grade 6, and the scholarship will allow girls to continue their education, bringing real generational change to the area.  With fewer than 1% of rural girls attending high school, there can be no better way to create lasting change in rural villages than creating female pioneer/role models that have achieved further schooling.

 I want to thank you again for your contribution to the Bantam school construction project. While Timbuktu is on the front lines of the world’s fight against global extremist violence, there is still much work to be done by the Malian government, the UN, and NGOs to create more opportunities, particularly for the youth, which will lead to a more secure situation. With your help, Caravan to Class will continue to move forward in our effort to revitalize one of Africa’s most historically important cities. 

 Sincerely,

 

 Barry Hoffner

Founder and Executive Director, Caravan to Class

Participants in Our Female Adult Literacy Program
Participants in Our Female Adult Literacy Program
Nov 23, 2016

Update on Bantam school project

Dear Supporters of our Bantam school construction project on Global Giving:

I wanted to send you an update on our Bantam school construction project of 2016/17, Caravan to Class’ 10th school construction project in village around Timbuktu since 2010.

As I mentioned in my last update, Timbuktu, which was once one of the world’s most literate places, and more recently an important travel destination for the intrepid traveler (it is hard to believe now that Bono was in Timbuktu only 4 years ago) is, today, a surreal place of ancient UNESCO World Heritage sites, pastoral scenes of camels and donkeys transporting agriculture and more than 3,000 UN Peacekeepers. There are military checkpoints everywhere in a heavily militarized environment void of tourists and non-UN foreigners.

Despite Timbuktu being on the front lines of the world’s fight against global extremist violence, residents are adjusting to life in this fabled place. There is still much work to be done by the Malian government, the UN, and NGOs to create more opportunities, particularly for the youth, which will lead to a more secure situation.

The Bantam school will be completed before the end of the 2016/17 school year, hopefully by March 2017 and will bring education to more than 120 children who never had the chance to go to school. On behalf of these children, I thank you for making this happen! The village of Bantam was created in the 1600s by a Tuareg woman (as the story goes) who moved from the Gao region of Mali to find a place on the side of the Niger river not far from the trading town of Timbuktu. This village of close to 700 residents is composed of ethnic Songhays, Peuls (cattle-herders), Bozos (fisherman) and Tuareg. The principal economic activity of the village is fishing and animal herding. Sixty percent of the population is under the age of 30 years. There has never been schooling of any kind in this village.

Together, with your support, we have accomplished a lot since we built our first school in 2010. This past year, 2016, was a very productive year for Caravan to Class: 1) completing our 9th school in the village of Kakondji (which I felt fortunate to be on hand to inaugurate in February, 2016)  2) implementing of our first Female Adult Literacy program in the village of Tourari (which directly lead to a large grant from Dining for Women to expand this program into ten villages where we currently operate), 3) becoming a sub-contractor of USAID to fund the building of a school in the village of Kabara San Fils, in 2017.  

While all is not perfect, by all means, in Timbuktu, we are hopeful that with UN support and pressure from France and the U.S., Mali can better serve all of its population and that we will see a more peaceful north. Nonetheless, our work continues and we are better established on the ground in ten villages than before the conflict began and thus our ability to promote literacy is strong. In fact, through our work in education, Caravan to Class has become an important for the revitalization of one of Africa’s most historically important places.

 

Sincerely,

Barry Hoffner

Founder and Executive Director, Caravan to Class

Links:

Aug 31, 2016

Update on Bantam school project

Dear Supporters of our Bantam school construction project on Global Giving:

I wanted to send you an update on our Bantam school construction project of 2016/17, Caravan to Class’ 10th school construction project in village around Timbuktu since 2010.

As I mentioned in my last update, Timbuktu, which was once one of the world’s most literate places, and more recently an important travel destination for the intrepid traveler (it is hard to believe now that Bono was in Timbuktu only 4 years ago) is, today, a surreal place of ancient UNESCO World Heritage sites, pastoral scenes of camels and donkeys transporting agriculture and more than 3,000 UN Peacekeepers. There are military checkpoints everywhere in a heavily militarized environment void of tourists and non-UN foreigners.

Despite Timbuktu being on the front lines of the world’s fight against global extremist violence, residents are adjusting to life in this fabled place. There is still much work to be done by the Malian government, the UN, and NGOs to create more opportunities, particularly for the youth, which will lead to a more secure situation.

The Bantam school will be completed before the end of the 2016/17 school year, hopefully by March 2017 and will bring education to more than 120 children who never had the chance to go to school. On behalf of these children, I thank you for making this happen!

Caravan to Class’ primary goal is to bring education to thousands of children, who have never been able to go to school, in villages around Timbuktu. However, this past year, I have realized that it is even more than that; It is about inspiring families to prioritize education within the family which we are working on through our new Female Adult Literacy Program for mothers, it is about the hope that having a physical school in the center of the village brings to the community at a time of difficulty in the area, finally, it is even about cultivating the motivation of specific individuals to take their learning to the next level.

In regards to the last point, Mr. Abdoulaye Toure who works to administer Caravan to Class’ programs through our partner NGO Nord et Development, expressed his dream of one day being able to speak English (the national language of Mali is French). To that end, Caravan to Class decided to fund an English language program for Abdoulaye in Ghana during the summer months. Abdoulaye just finished his program and sent me the following note, in English, which I would like to share with you:

When I took the decision to come to Ghana I had one goal in my head : to learn to speak English well. Today i want to thank everybody who has contributed to this success ( first the FOUNDATION CARAVAN TO CLASS by the voice of Barry Hoffner, my coordinator Hamadou Touré, my Father,my Mother, and especially my wife, my colleagues and all my relatives from near and far), I thank God for having given me the courage at the begining and to the end. I can’t finish my letter without thanking the different staff of SOPODIVA. Learning is difficult especially the English language, I think I have to make efforts to improve myself everyday and with that I can progress in the future. Once again thank you.

For me, this is a symbol of a “green shoot” of hope and progress and that even if only for one person, can spread and someday result in progress for the entire region.

Sincerely,

 

Barry Hoffner

Founder and Executive Director, Caravan to Class

 
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