Since our founding in 2016, the Baobab Learning Center (BLC) has accomplished a great deal through the generosity of our friends and contributors. Village Elders told our Malian founder and director, Mariama Thera, that for the first time, they have hope for the future. Regional school inspectors commented that our programs led the students in our Center to excel in the Tominian City School, which is a better school than the makeshift schools in the surrounding poor villages. BLC has focused our work on three main areas of focus, we invite you to learn more about our work.
The Center has grown from 16 children to 30 in residence and 35 more in day programs receiving meals, clothing and tutoring.This year we arranged to receive a donation of 2,000 books from Books for Africa. We needed to pay freight and a small processing fee both of which were covered by a grant from the Balaton Group and support from our donors.
BLC built two shea butter and grain processing facilities where over 100 women have learned to process nuts they gather into shea butter which we market for them. They compensate for use of the facilities by helping BLC process shea nuts to raise money for the Center.
We also teach village mothers cooking, childcare, hygiene, food storage, and entrepreneurship.
We connect young adults with meaningful internships for vocational training and networking. After the Malian Army repelled an attack near our center, BLC held a summit where young adults subject to predatory recruitment by ISIS terrorists were invited to join one of eight program areas. Participants heard presentations by educators, health practitioners, and other leaders in order to gain access to vocational training and internships on their life paths.
We have also provided bicycles to 35 teenagers to help them attend high school far from their villages, and we offer educational events and summer camps for community service and skills training.
The Baobab Center is grateful to the Rotary Club of San Jose East Evergreen and The Step It Up Foundation for a 2021 grant for solar voltaic panels at our main Center and the two shea butter and grain processing facilities. We will encourage the contractor to include young adults in our programs to assist with the work in the July of 2021 as part of their vocational training.
Berkeley National Laboratory and graduate students at the UC Berkeley chose the Baobab Learning Center to be trained in assembly of their Electro-Clean machine to make effective low cost disinfectant from water, salt, and electricity. We translated the materials into French and assembled a team including an electrician and doctor to oversee the project. Young adults on our Health Committee will be involved in making the disinfectant, distribution to the communities, and providing information to the public.