Exciting times ahead!
Our children may have been on summer vacation over the past few months, but we have been hard at work making progress towards ACFA’s many goals.
Currently, our dedicated local staff continue to look after the ACFA teenagers in the house in Bamako where our founder grew up. Our Zorokoro Children’s Complex in the nearby village of Zorokoro houses 3-6 year olds and is growing.
This year, three more of our older children passed the national exam to go to high school bringing ACFA’s pass rate to 90%, nearly twice the national average. These exams are notoriously challenging, and we could not be more proud of our young people and their hard work.
The older children have continued to succeed in their athletic pursuits as well. In July, Diakassan took home the silver medal in a regional fencing competition. Our partnership with Kickoff Solutions has provided continued mentorship to support our girls in pursuing athletics. Our students were thrilled to receive an invitation to visit the Kickoff Solutions team in their native India, and staff is currently working to make that dream a reality.
In addition, 4 of our older girls are currently participating in an online computer skills course offered by a dedicated group of high school students from California. This has been an illuminating cultural exchange experience on both sides in addition to helping ACFA’s kids develop their digital literacy.
A special thank you again to the U.S. Marine Corps stationed at the U.S. Embassy who visited the ACFA children and generously donated clothes, sheets and food.
Meanwhile, we have continued to deepen our community work at the Zorokoro Children's Complex. During the month of August, we offered summer school for the two kindergarten classes which includes the ACFA children and children from the surrounding villages. All the children at the school get three meals a day. Our dedicated teachers created a curriculum that will set the children up for success in their first grade year, covering social skills, basic math and reading, Malian geography, and plenty of songs and poems. When the new school year begins in October, we will be adding a first grade class and an additional kindergarten class.
We are also at a particularly exciting phase in the development of our library and computer lab initiative in Zorokoro. With the support of our funders and local professionals who have generously volunteered their time, we are set to begin construction of the library and computer lab building this month. We can’t wait to welcome patrons into the space once it is built. A generous shipment of books from Books for Africa arrived safely to the complex, and thanks to our grant from USAID/ASHA, we are in the process of purchasing additional materials in French and Bambara, Mali’s local language, to round out our collection.
At the organizational level, we are currently in the exciting process of hiring an on-the-ground operations manager. Filling this position will allow us to develop deeper relationships at the community level, increase efficiency, and sustain our successes over the long term.
We have big dreams for the future of ACFA. We know from our work on the ground in Mali that there are many more vulnerable children in need of the kind of high-quality wraparound support services that we provide. We hope to expand our capacity by building more personnel infrastructure and continuing to develop our programs.
Please consider donating to ACFA today to support our continued growth and enable more vulnerable children to receive what all kids deserve: care, safety, and opportunity.
Thank you for your generous and continued support of ACFA.