As the holy month of Ramadan comes to a close, it is the ideal time to reflect on all the charitable actions that YES alumni partook in over the month. YES alumni in Mali were particularly active for the month of Ramadan demonstrating the strong overlap between the YES mission and Ramadan by carrying out a project that showcased YES alumni acts of generosity, patriotism, and social inclusion.
YES alumni orchestrated a massive community wide project called “Operation Ramadan,” with the goal of providing food to break the daily fast to disadvantaged communities around the capital city, Bamako. YES alumni wanted to involve as many stakeholders as possible, and as such identified local associations and organizations to join their efforts to ensure that the project had a large impact. The YES alumni brought together ten associations and 75 individuals to join forces in Operation Ramadan. Together the group raised funds to purchase food that would later be distributed to disadvantaged communities. In addition to funding, the group received in-kind donations such as rice, millet, sugar, milk, pasta, oil, and boxes of water.
YES alumni identified 100 families from disadvantaged neighborhoods to receive weekly installments of the food. Each week 25 new families were selected to receive at least two deliveries of food that YES alumni had collected. YES alumni wanted to ensure that regardless of their socioeconomic status, families had nutritious and filling food to break their fast. When YES alumni went house to house distributing food they said they were always welcomed with joy, and would leave with teary smiles and blessings.
In addition to delivering food to pre-identified families, YES alumni also hosted community-wide iftars each Saturday of Ramadan at the Tour d’Afrique. This is an area in the center of Bamako known for having a large number of disadvantaged Malians – homeless people, orphans, beggars, and travelers frequent the area. Volunteers from associations cooked meals and distributed the meals in the Tour d’Afrique vicinity. Each week approximately 400 community members came to break fast together and enjoy the food that the YES alumni and their contingent of volunteers had collected. YES alumni estimated that every week 40% of the total attendees were first timers. Over the course of Ramadan, YES alumni’s hard work made 1000 meals!
Feeding disadvantaged families and individuals wasn’t the only success of Operation Ramadan – it also fostered a sense of unity. Each Saturday evening the YES alumni iftar created a convivial atmosphere as people from different backgrounds, origins, and religions shared meals, prayers, and blessings together as one community. During the iftars YES alumni also took the time to talk with youth and encourage them to get involved with community service. Because there were so many organizations and associations involved with “Operation Ramadan” youth are often inspired to join an association and become active members of community projects.
Congratulations on such a wonderful project YES alumni!
YES alumni involved in this project:
Royale Anne Kodio (2016-2017, Mali, hosted by AFS in University Heights, OH)
Mariam Liza Thiam (2016-2017, Mali, hosted by YFU in Cincinnati, OH),
Adame Ba Niare(2016-2017, Mali, hosted by PAX in Three Rivers, MI)
Kadidiatou Tidiane Diakité (2016-2017, Mali, hosted by AFS in Oakwood, OH)
Fily Coulibaly (2011-2012, Mali, hosted by CCI in Stratham, NH)
Souleymane Sidibe (2013-2014, Mali, hosted by AFS in Seldovia, AK)
Souleymane Fofana (2008-2009, Mali)
Mohamed Goumane (2013-2014, Mali, hosted by PAX in Bowling Green, KY)