A Day in the Life in Mali with Rokia

8-year-old Rokia and her mother

Rokia was among the first participants in our sponsorship-funded program and she benefits from our Basic Education and School Health and Nutrition work. Here she is pictured with her mother.

Rokia is a bright eight-year-old girl who lives in the western African nation of Mali. She lives with her parents and five siblings on a small subsistence farm.

When Save the Children first started working in her village, Rokia’s family was barely scraping by on their crops of corn, potatoes, sorghum and peanuts. They are one of the lucky families, as they have a few mango trees, which helps to supplement their low income and provides much needed food for the family.

Rokia was among the first participants in Save the Children’s sponsorship-funded program in her village. Since 2009, Rokia has benefitted from our education, health and nutrition programs. Each year Save the Children provides vitamin A, iron, and deworming treatment to improve Rokia’s health.

Rokia leads an active life. “I like to keep busy with my family and friends,” Rokia says with a smile, happy to split her time between school, play and chores.

A big part of Rokia’s busy day is doing whatever she can to help her family. She gets up early to get ready for school and do chores while it is still cool — temperatures often top 100 degrees by midday.

Rokia likes helping to take care of her little brother while her mother makes breakfast. They often eat a hearty porridge of sorghum — a grain they grow on the farm.

After breakfast, Rokia takes her younger brother to the early childhood development (ECD) center and heads off to school where she has already reached the third grade. Both her school and her little brother’s center are supported by Save the Children.

At noon, Rokia comes back home to have lunch. Her school doesn’t have a cafeteria. There aren’t any restaurants or grocery stores in her village. Lunch and dinner are typically the same as breakfast, but perhaps with peanuts or vegetables added to the porridge.

Rokia returns to school when it reopens from 3:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon. At night, she has dinner and plays with her brothers and sisters before bed. It is a long day for a little girl, but as she gets ready for bed, she looks forward to her next busy day.

Impact and Results

Sponsors’ support Rokia and thousands of children like her in Mali. In 2009, Save the Children:

  • Built 27 classrooms in nine communities
  • Trained 230 teachers
  • Delivered educational supplies in 133 schools
  • Distributed nutritional supplements to over 43,000 children
  • Built 21 blocks of latrines
  • Conducted free medical check-ups for 714 preschoolers

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