YES Programs



The Gift of Life: Blood Donation Drive 2023

Two young people seated as they prepare to make a donation

By Philippe Kabahaii Dembele (YES 2022-2023, Mali, placed by AYUSA in Amity, OR)

On September 2, 2023, at the Blood Bank of Quinzambougou, our group of passionate and proud alumni of the KL-YES program from Mali, as well as friends, gathered to make a lasting impact on their community. In collaboration with "Association Espoir Jeune,” we organized this event to bring positive change back to our homeland.

One month earlier, the spark for this collective project came from a simple yet impactful idea–a blood donation drive. Some older YES alumni, without wasting any time, contacted the Blood Bank of Quinzambougou and planned the activity.

As the day approached, excitement permeated the community. A well-crafted flier about the blood drive was circulated, serving not only to raise awareness about the importance of blood donation but also to encourage active participation.

A group of people pictured outside collecting forms

On the day of the event, the community turned out in force. KL-YES alumni networked on one side, doctors chatted happily with donors on the other, and amidst the crowd, I documented the entire event through my camera. The donation room buzzed with activity as alumni and volunteers, adorned in white "KL-YES x Association Espoir Jeune" T-shirts, welcomed donors with smiles and gratitude. Each donor, including myself, received a sweet treat of appreciation, a drink, and a heartfelt thank you note from our group.

The results surpassed expectations. With 33 donors contributing an average of 350 milliliters per person, our initiative exceeded the initial goal for blood donations. The Blood Bank of Quinzambougou expressed overwhelming gratitude, and the impact on the community was immeasurable. A group picture with the doctors marked the successful conclusion of the activity.

Through our collective passion and commitment, the KL-YES Malian alumni showcased that a group of like-minded individuals, driven by a common cause, could make a significant difference in the community. The blood donation drive became a symbol of unity, compassion, and the enduring spirit of giving back.