January 1, 2004 - NEA Today: RPCV Scott Lacey builds school in Mali

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Mali: Peace Corps Mali : The Peace Corps in Mali: January 1, 2004 - NEA Today: RPCV Scott Lacey builds school in Mali

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-19-87.balt.east.verizon.net - on Thursday, January 08, 2004 - 6:31 pm: Edit Post

RPCV Scott Lacey builds school in Mali

RPCV Scott Lacey builds school in Mali

Family Ties

Jan 1, 2004

NEA Today

Kristen Loschert

When Christine Lacy's son told her he wanted to build a school in Dissan, a small village in Mali, West Africa, Lacy didn't ask why. She simply asked, "What can I do to help?"

MEMBERS OF THE LACY FAMILY have raised more than $10,000 for a village school and started a nonprofit organization to build schools in other parts of the country.

"We're a close family so when we get involved in something we all jump in," says Lacy, a training coordinator for the County of Summit Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities in Ohio.

Lacy's son, Scott, first visited Dissan as a member of the Peace Corps and returned as a graduate student. During his second trip, Scott organized a chapter of the Cleveland Browns fan club to share his love of the team with his new host country. News of the club spread quickly to other Browns fan clubs, whose members wanted to support the village.

That's when the Lacy family got involved by designing a T-shirt for the village's club, which they sold to raise money for a school. Christine supervised production and distribution of the shirts and tracked the funds raised. In October 2002, the family traveled to Mali to present the first $6,000 they had collected. Scott returned to Dissan in September to dedicate the school.

"It was exciting to think we could do something that would make a permanent impact in that village and thank them for taking such good care of our son," Lacy says. "They embraced him and that's a nice thing for parents to know."


Copyright National Education Association Jan 2004

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Story Source: NEA Today

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Mali; Service



By jane armer ( on Sunday, November 30, 2008 - 5:19 pm: Edit Post

My name's Jane and I've got a lot to learn. Googled 'school building in Mali' and found that you are interested/active in this area.

I went travelling in west africa a couple of years ago with the intension of looking for development work while I was there. Thought I'd find it in an english-speaking country but fell in love with Mali. I've made 3 trips and spent about 6 months there, making friends and becoming involved with a small community on the outskirts of Sibi (45 k from Bamako). This part of town (Kalassa) is very poor, with no services whatsoever. Together with some of my malian friends and villagers we set up a small charity - Association Ecologique pour le Development de Kalassa. I have friends in England who want to raise money for the association, though we are holding back at the moment until all the legal stuff is sorted, which as I'm sure you know can take ages!!
At the opening ceremony, the people put forward their needs - one of them being for a school. There is a school in Sibi, but the children have to walk 4k, 4 times a day, and many children don't go at all. My fundraisers in England are interested in supporting a project to build a school, but I need to learn as much about the issues as possible before we come to any agreements.

I would welcome any information and advice, but these are burning issues at the moment:

Teachers/caretakers salaries
I have been told that the village will give the land free, and that the villagers will all pay a small fee towards the teachers' salaries. I have also been told that the local authority will have to provide teachers if there is a school there, as the villagers already pay their taxes. I am sure I have been given this information in good faith, but need to make sure that this is accurate, as the association cannot be involved in the long term paying of teachers. I also recognise that this is a poor district in a very poor country and that these people have very little cash income. I recognise the need for some long term commitment but not for teachers. Can anyone give me a greater insight into the realities and how to overcome or minimise these problems?

Building methods
I am not an engineer or construction expert and know very little about building methods and costs. The 3 classroom model has been suggested, along with 3 toilets, a principal's office, storeroom and enclosure. I have read on some websites a little about 2 types of building - concrete v earth. I would like to learn more about the relative benefits of each.

I have seen/heard widely differing estimates for this type of project in Mali. Being a complete novice, and relying on my friends hard-earned money, I am obviously very keen for advice in this area.

Social Enterprise
I'm also interested on how to develop any potential project as a social enterprise rather than a 'gift'.

Other sources of funding
This would be good too - not just cash, but maybe books and stuff. I've found charities that recycle english books and donate to projects like this - anyone know of ones that have resources in french, or that would provide books in bambara?

I am currently working 'around the clock' to raise my personal expenses for my return to Mali in January. I aim to stay for at least 2 years, to support and help to develop the association, but I want to learn as much as possible before I go.

Once again in anticipation, thanks

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