Despite the 40 degrees’ heat and the hot season, the representatives of the African-Hungarian Union have traveled to Mali, in order to visit their partner organization, which is The Foundation for Disabled Children in Bamako. The two-person team was driven by a noble cause. They took new children into the program and brought donations to the poor – GLOBS Magazine.
Nagui Touré is 18 years old and lives in the capital of Mali. He has great dreams, just like other boys of his age.
“It is just impossible to believe that once he will be able to achieve his goals.” – told Györgyi Szabó, Child Support Coordinator of the African-Hungarian Union.
There is smile and joy on his face. He will soon graduate from high school. Then, he wants to go to law school to be a lawyer. Knowing his situation, it is not easy to be so ambitious. He was born blind, just like his siblings.
Their father left the family. Therefore, the mother raises three blind children, on her own.
During the two-week-long mission, the Child Support Coordinator of the AHU and Ágnes Simigh volunteer visited among others the Touré family. As Györgyi said, she was expecting a very hard experience during the meeting with disabled children in deplorable conditions. However, it was not like this. “Despite the poor conditions, the parents and children remained happy and full of hope.”
The AHU has been working with the local Aides aux Enfants Démunisdu Mali Profond (AEDMP) foundation, which was established by a nice couple. They took over a British disabled child support foundation, after closing their office in Mali.
The other special institutions for disabled (mentally and physically challenged, blind or deaf) children were very far away from their residence, and the families could not pay for the travel expenses. Therefore, the disabled children stayed home, without any special aid or development. Six years ago, the foundation took a huge step.
They wanted to bring a tiny ray of hope into the everyday lives of children with disabilities. Hence, the school for the training of disabled children is called Ray of Hope Center (Lueur d’Espoir). A total of 68 children study in the institution, from every age group. The school offers almost all-day activities for children. They teach reading and writing for the ones in school age. Furthermore, there are special activities for the older ones like sewing, painting or making chairs.
According to Györgyi, the school is important because there are many institutes for physically challenged children, but this is the only one for mentally handicapped kids in Bamako. They can only expect limited support from the government, because they can barely provide any financial aid for the center. They primarily get food and clothes. Besides the education of the disabled children, the school provides equipment and consultation for the parents. Moreover, they organize informative lectures.
Besides the financial aid, Györgyi and Ágnes brought more than 100 kilograms of clothes, hygiene products and sized glasses. Joy and gratitude were in the eyes of the children, when they received the donations. They were in good hands, because Mr. Koné and his wife have a perspective for the situation of those, who are really in need.
“Our visit was a wonderful experience for them. They told us every day.” -said the Child Support Coordinator of AHU. 18 families received non-perishable food: 25 kilograms of rice, 5 kilograms of sugar, 5 liters of oil, 3 kilograms of milk powder, and 1 large pack of tea.
The AHU and AEDMP are only mediators. The organizations unite an African child with his or her Hungarian “parent” from 6000 kilometers away. The symbolic adoption means the regular financial support of a poor African child. The recommended sum is 6000 forints. It is enough for supporting the meals, education, medication of a child. The “parents” love their children so much – Györgyi and Ágnes brought several private presents to Mali. As a part of the program, they visited the school and families of 22 children, who already have Hungarian “parents”. Furthermore, they created information sheets and took photos of 16 new children. Hopefully, they will have Hungarian supporters too.
The children are waiting for supporting “parents”. The description of children with photos is available on the website of AHU.
Together we can achieve more!
Source: by Györgyi SZABÓ, Humanitarian officer, African-Hungarian Union (AHU) and Gabriella GYÖRGYI, Journalist – GLOBS Magazine