Political circumstances have left literacy rates close to zero in many of the villages around historically significant Timbuktu, Mali, once boasting one of the world's largest universities in the 12th to 16th centuries. Caravan to Class (CTC) seeks to provide the dream of an education for the children of Bantam, near Timbuktu, by building a school in this carefully-selected village. CTC plans to help reignite the region's rich history of literacy by providing education to 120 deserving children.
The children of the nomadic Tuareg and other ethnic people of Northern Mali have never known formal schooling. While Mali is already one of the world's most illiterate countries, with the literacy rate around 25%, the villages around Timbuktu have much lower literacy rates, close to zero. Caravan to Class' mission is to reverse this injustice and bring the dream of education, and the hope that education creates by make going to school a routine part of a child's life.
The three pillars of getting kids into school in the area where Caravan to Class operates, and part of Caravan to Class model to invest in literacy in the Southern Sahara Desert, are: 1) Building a safe and welcoming school building, 2) Hiring accredited teachers, 3) Providing basic nutrition, school supplies and books. By building a welcoming school environment, the school becomes a priority for the village and deepens the commitment to education.
The Koiria school project is CTC's 11th in Timbuktu, and the first in a village with a preexisting cement school. This one-room schoolhouse is not large enough to accommodate all the students. Children sit four to a desk, and 75 students are crowded into a space meant for no more than 40, while the remaining 60 are in a temporary tent school. These deserving children will be educated in French, and may continue their education past the 6th grade by passing the national entrance exam.