Despite a political crisis in Bamako, and a very uncertain situation in the North of the country, the Music School in Kirina is thriving and we have started new extension works this week. This extension represents a crucial step for the development of the project and we are very excited about it. The first structure that we are building is an open-air dance classroom. The classrooms of the music school were too small to welcome all our dance students in optimal conditions and this new space will allow our fantastic dance teacher, Oumou Mariko, and his students to express themselves in an adapted space. The open-air classroom will also be a multitask space that will be used for music instruction, performances, and workshops.
Next to this new classroom we are building storage that will serve to store musical instruments. One of the main development priorities for 2012-2013 is to launch an instrument workshop in Kirina, in order to produce and sell instruments made in the village to help sustain the school financially and create job opportunities in Kirina.
As we did during the construction of the first building of the school we're employing local workforce, and the sand we're using to build is from the Niger River, located 3 kilometers (about 2 miles) from the village. This new step in the development of the school has been made possible thanks to the generous donation of Stanley Eisenberg, who came to visit the school in February. Stanley has been a fan of Playing For Change for several years now and approached us some months ago in order to see how he could help our music school to reach the next level. His solid experience on development projects around the world has been a real inspiration to us and his donation (which finances more than 50% of the current project) is a true blessing for the development of the music school. Thank you, Stanley !
Over the last months the music school received several visits that have directly helped us grow and spread the word of our cause. Visitors include musicians such as Baaba Maal, Habib Koité, Toumani Diabaté, Tiken Jah Fakoly, several Malian TV shows, artists from Europe, and non-profit organizations. Every time, the visitors are welcomed by the all village and our students demonstrate their musical talents to them. (Watch the video "The Change is Here"). Here is an example on how those visits can have a positive effect, not only for the school, but also for the village. In December 2011, representatives of a Malian foundation ( Fondation Mamadou Konaté) came to visit the village and the school and decided to make an important donation to the village: furniture for the maternity ward of Kirina. This maternity ward was built a couple of years ago but was absolutely empty: no beds, no furniture, no water, and no nurse. Now the facility has been furnished and a nurse is going to carry out activities and help the women of Kirina to give birth in decent conditions.
All this wouldn't have been possible without you!! Thank you for supporting our work for education in Africa.
Music is the Key.