Fadimoutou, 40, is a mother of five children living near Timbuktu in Mali. Over the years, she’s been witness to various crises that have occurred in the region.
She makes mats to sell at the local market. With the limited support she receives from her husband - who is often travelling - she can barely meet her family's needs. When conflict broke out in 2012, she lost her cattle and has been searching for a decent livelihood ever since.
Her three daughters go to the village school in the hope that they will have a better future. But over the years, she has watched helplessly as the school buildings crumble because of lack of upkeep.
Plan International’s cash-for-work project, which was welcomed by the community, set out to renovate the school.
The cash-for-work project was implemented by Plan International Mali with the support of Irish Aid in Goudam and Gourma Rharous areas. Through the project, 932 parents were able to earn money while supporting their children’s education. 1,390 school kits were also distributed in 10 schools across the region as part of the project.
"When I learned that I had been selected by the village committee to benefit from this project, I was happy,” said Fadimoutou. “First, because my children will now learn in better conditions, but also because I can secure some funds for my household needs. I took part in the dredging work. I also carried water and bricks to workers. With the money I received, I was able to buy some rice and save some money for my children’s needs.”
The project connects community members with short-term employment so they can earn an income, provide for their children, and participate in the development of their communities.
"This project has really helped give a new face to our school,” said Agoumour Aguissa, headmaster of the school. “The state of our school was so bad that some children would not come. The walls were falling down, the fence was almost nonexistent.
“Some children were not coming to school due to lack of school supplies. Others had started well early in the year but dropped [out] towards the end. Now with the distribution of school kits, almost all the children who had dropped out came back.”
Find out how you can get involved with projects like this.