Student from Tombouz
Thank you so much for your incredible support for Caravan to Class and literacy in Timbuktu during our Global Giving yearend campaign. Due to your strong support, we were able to raise a total of $24,234 to help fund the rebuilding of our Tombouz school which was partially destroyed by militants linked to Al Qaida in later 2012.
In addition, as a result of finishing third in funds raised out of more than 2,154 projects from more than 500 foundations, we were able to secure an additional $2,000 in bonus grants from Global Giving. Rebuilding the Tombouz will create a great school environment for the roughly 120 children, grades 1st -6th to realize their dream of an education and hope for their future.
One of my personal heroes, Nelson Mandela, who only recently passed away, said it best about education when he said “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” I am in favor of a strong defense in the U.S. However, something is out of balance when I see that $1.5 trillion that was spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in addition to the more than $1 million per minute we spend on our regular defense budget. Something tells me that if we could only allocate a small portion of that to helping educate children in the world’s poorest and most at-risk places like Mali, we could indeed find ourselves a safer world. We have to recognize that despite the overwhelming amount spent on the U.S. military, we actually do not necessarily live in a safer world now. As George Packer wrote in his New York Times blog, “war is too blunt an instrument, by itself, against the complexity, volatility and durability of Islamist violence.”
This does relate well to Mali’s situation over the past few years. By de-prioritizing the development of Mali’s north, like the Timbuktu region, the Malian government created a fertile ground for the militant Ansar Dine, linked to Al Qaida, to appeal to Tuareg separatists who felt as if they had little to lose. It is sad to think how much less bloodshed, destruction, disruption, and money could have been saved had Mali been able to do some simple things like a) have a school in every village, b) build infrastructure to promote jobs, trade and agriculture, c) provide financing to farmers.
Hopefully, there were some lessons learned during 2012 and now, with the UN peace-keeping force in place in Timbuktu and the north, and international donors ready to increased targeted aid, Timbuktu can not only recover from the past few years but move to a better place. Caravan to Class is now on the ground in five villages, and we are hoping eight by the end of 2014, promoting literacy and giving the deserving children of Timbuktu the dream of an education.
Thank you again for supporting our cause we will certainly keep you informed as we make progress in rebuilding the Tombouz school. As you can see from the photos, we have already begun making the bricks to start the building of the school thanks to your support.
Founder, Caravan to Class
Bricks being made for school building project
Area where we will build Tombouz 3-classrom School
Will replace this school building