In a Perfect World is pleased to report on the Bougoulaba school in Mali. Our partners broke ground on the school in October 2009, and construction was completed on January 15, 2010, two days ahead of the 12-week schedule.
The village of Bougoulaba is a small community located outside of Bougouni in the southwestern region of Mail. The population is estimated at 1,110 people. These people are primarily uneducated and illiterate. Their livelihood consists of agriculture and animal breeding. The main crops in the region are millet, corn, sorghum, peanut, cotton, and beans. There is no electricity in Bougoulaba.
As recently as October 2009, the only schoolhouse in the village was a structure built in 1997 in collaboration with a national NGO called AMADECOM. The school was composed of 4 rooms – 3 made with mud bricks, 1 a thatched add-on. The dirt floor of the structure was particularly impractical during Mail’s rainy season, which typically starts in June, but can come as early as February due to climate change. Four teachers at the school worked with 146 students (50 girls) in the 4 classrooms.
Bougoulaba was a needy village in terms the condition and size of its only school, and the great number of children in attendance there. The people of Bougoulaba understand the importance of education and were eager to work to construct a better, permanent school building to educate their children. The adults were motivated to improve the quality of education for the children, and to get the adult Community Education Program (CEP) underway.
Bougoulaba community members contributed all of the sand, gravel and water for the project and volunteered 2,613 workdays during the 12-week construction period. Through this process, the villagers learned practical skills such as how to dig a solid foundation, tie rebar and mix concrete properly; they learned how to lay bricks and keep a daily inventory of supplies. Their volunteer workdays were 40% above what was required of them by our partner’s covenant.