Mali – The value of a courtyard in a context of fragility

26 October 2021

(ANS - Bamako) - Mali, a vast country in north-west Africa, is today a troubled nation: in the space of 9 months, between 2020 and 2021, it has suffered two coups d’etat, while the good religious coexistence between the population with a large Muslim majority (80%) and minorities (including 5% Christians) is threatened by raids and kidnappings of civilians, which have become more frequent in recent years, by fundamentalist groups. In this difficult context, in a country that ranks 184 out of 189 according to the latest Human Development Index, a small Salesian oratory located in the capital, the city of Bamako, is dedicated to bringing joy and cultivating education and peace between children, teenagers and young people.

The “Père Michael” training center keeps its doors open all day to allow hundreds of young people from the Niarela district of Bamako and the outskirts of the city to play sports, learn music or study at its library. The children spend their time there from early morning until late at night. It is a Salesian courtyard, where, as in many Salesian houses around the world, young people in situations of exclusion live, dream of a future, study, learn the importance of being committed and collaborating in groups; in short, they enjoy a place where they can develop and express themselves, with the accompaniment of the Salesians of Mali.

In Bamako, the social impact of a project like this is invaluable. The goal is to keep young people – who are between 12 and 25 years old - away from the street, from harmful habits such as alcohol or drugs, and to offer them an educational space during their free time which promotes cultural activities and allows development of the values ​​of each.

Following the close collaboration between the Salesian NGO "Bosco Global" and the Municipality of Pozoblanco - where the late Salesian Antonio Cesar Fernández, killed by fundamentalist groups in 2019 in nearby Burkina Faso, came from - the Salesian center was able to equip itself with sports equipment for the girls of the basketball team, set up a music training centre, and was able to organize health and hygiene awareness days to prevent diseases and bad habits and promote a healthy lifestyle.

This project, which began in November 2020, is about to come to an end and the newer activities are currently being prepared, scheduled for next November. The young people participating in the music training are organizing a fest that will be "the icing on the cake" of this project which has done so much good to the area’s young people.

For its part, Bosco Global would like to thank all the people and organizations that made this project possible, especially those who are committed to young people and their right to have access to safe recreational activities.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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