Who We Serve
The Center supports children aged 6-12 years of age, from primary school to middle school. The primary children served would have likely dropped out of school due to the long walk. The Center has grown from 16 children to 30 in residence and 35 more in day programs receiving meals, clothing, and tutoring.
Children benefit from the Center's activities, as do schools in the Town of Tominian and surrounding villages.
In addition to housing, feeding, and clothing the children, the Center is providing a number of services to help shape well rounded students, including:
Tutoring - the students are now at the top of their class!
Civic education – students learn what it means to be a good citizen
Gardening – at BLC, which has led to more gardens in villages
Life skills, such as hygiene and social skills
In 2021, BLC arranged to receive a donation of 2,000 books from Books for Africa. BLC paid the fees and freight thanks to a grant from the Balaton Group and support from our donors.
Doubahan, or “Miraculous” as nicknamed by BLC staff, was found sleeping outside the Center. She ran away from her village to escape domestic violence and lived on the street, subsisting as a street vendor. The staff provided her food, clothing, and access to bathing. Initially, Doubahan had no interest in going to school and was focused on selling food to make money. The team persuaded her to begin studies, and since then, she has not looked back. She is in sixth grade and positioned to pass national exams and go to middle school. She aspires to be a teacher. Doubahan is one of four children who reside at BLC year-round due to their history of domestic abuse.
Beou was brought to BLC by his parents in 2016. During his first year he refused to participate in school and ran away to the bush and his village several times. The BLC team maintained contact with Beou throughout this difficult time, leaving the door open for his return. He came back after a year, and has become a happy, motivated student. He passed the sixth grade national exam with high marks and enthusiastically entered middle school. Beou has become a model student at BLC and a mentor for other young boys whom he conscientiously supports to keep them on track.
Five-year anniversary celebration
In 2021, we will celebrate five years of contributing to the Tominian region in Mali. As we have done at previous events we will plan an outdoor event and acknowledge the staff, volunteers, participants, local leaders in Mali, and our donors who have supported the success of our efforts.