Last summer, Aissata Diallo (pictured above) watched her son leave their village in northern Mali. She did not want to let him go, but since her husband died, she had struggled to feed her four children — and at the height of the region’s hunger crisis, their situation had become desperate.
“I have no source of income and no plot to grow food,” she explained. “Often all we had is what neighbors gave me from the rest of their meal.”
Aissata’s is one of many families that was torn apart last year — not just by the search for food, but by the violence that had taken hold of northern Mali. Thankfully, because of you, last fall we were able to distribute emergency vouchers and provide food to over 20,000 people who were affected by this instability - as mentioned in the last progress report.
These vouchers not only made a huge impact for mothers like Aissata and their communities, they were also the first step in starting our long-term programs in Mali.
“It is because of your help that I can smile,” Aissata told our distribution team. “It was as if it was my son who had returned to me. These vouchers have value even beyond providing my family with meals — I was proud to choose and receive my items from the market.”
But the conflict that was holding northern Mali hostage all year reached a breaking point in January. When our staff could reach communities again, they found once again that these communities didn’t have access to enough food. So our teams launched again in April what we knew worked for families in these communities - another round of emergency voucher distributions to help people buy food in the reopened markets until harvest season returns. This time, the distributions also addressed the cholera concern that the rainy season brings. Along with offering information about healthy sanitation at the distributions, these vouchers also allow people to purchase hygiene supplies like soap, bleach and water purification tabs.
Recipients like Alkafietou Hamidou, who cares for her blind mother and handicapped daughter, are grateful. “The risk of getting sick is always here,” she said. “Getting these hygiene supplies is really beneficial. It gives me a reason to smile in a difficult life.”
You have helped us bring emergency relief to Mali when they need it most. With your continued support, we will be there, no matter what the circumstances, helping communities steer their own course toward a stronger, more resilient future. Thank you.
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