Trustees visit Mali

Trustees from Hay2Timbuktu visited Bamako in Mali to develop and monitor projects in Hay’s twin town of Timbuktu. Bamako is the capital of Mali; the British Foreign Office currently advises against all travel to northern Mali, including Timbuktu.

John Winter and Sandra Skinner made the trip to receive an update on the building of toilet blocks in schools in Timbuktu, which is the charity’s latest project, as well as to discuss future education projects. They met with partner charity, AMSS (Malian Association for the Survival in the Sahel), who are overseeing the building of the toilet blocks. Thanks to the generosity of local people, Hay2Timbuktu have provided over £7000 to support these essential new toilets. John and Sandra were delighted to hear that building has been completed in two out of the three schools, and to receive photos of the improvements.

The pair also met the British Ambassador to Mali, Cat Evans, to hear about the security situation in Timbuktu, and to find out about plans to improve English language teaching in the country. The Ambassador expressed gratitude to Hay2Timbuktu for their work in supporting development projects in the city.

They also met with Ali Sidi, former teacher in Timbuktu now studying in the capital. This provided an opportunity to hear about the schools in Timbuktu and pass on gifts and books for English and Maths study.

Finally they met with the Mayor of Timbuktu who underlined the importance of people to people links to the citizens of Timbuktu, and provided ideas for possible future projects. The Mayor received a booklet of messages with good wishes from people in Hay to share with those in Timbuktu.

Sandra Skinner said:

“It was hugely worthwhile to visit Mali in person and develop relationships with our friends from Timbuktu. We’ve returned brimming with enthusiasm to support people in Timbuktu with more practical projects.

It is a shame that we still can’t go to Timbuktu itself. Whilst the town still faces many challenges, with security risks and the collapse of the tourist industry, the people we met remain positive and hopeful – and full of thanks for the support that the people of Hay provide.”