SOS Villages d’Enfants opens school in Mali with Alland & Robert’s help
In a country like Mali, where the secondary school enrolment rate is as low as 41.4% , the future seems bleak for the youth. Furthermore, this image of a difficult future is only compounded and exacerbated by the fact that 25.1  of all children are subjected to forced child labour and 52% are in arranged marriages by age 18 . This is why Alland & Robert supported the opening of a new school in Khouloum, built by its long-standing partner SOS Villages d’Enfants.
This ground-breaking new facility, having opened in September 2018, offers hope for the future to 315 children aged between 6 and 15 under the watchful eye of 11 full time staff. “Khouloum being located in Kayes, one of the poorest districts of Mali, SOS Villages d’Enfants soon decided specific efforts were to be provided so as to make sure all children would be granted the fundamental right to a quality education.” Says Isabelle Moret CEO of SOS Villages d’Enfants France. “Khouloum is the fourth learning facility we built in Mali and we can only hope it will match the success of our other schools .”
When approached with this project by SOS Villages d’Enfants, Fréderic Alland, Alland & Robert’s CEO, knew that something had to be done. “We have been proud corporate partners with SOS Villages d’Enfants since 2013, but when they approached us with this opportunity we knew we had to help.” He remarks. “Mali is one of the African countries where we source acacia gum, and we are committed to invest in acacia related communities.”
This school, opened to the children of the surrounding villages, caps off the village that has already been built there where children without parental support are taken care of by an SOS mother. “The school really is the culmination of this long-term project in Khouloum, as it allow us to contribute to the realization of the child’s rights convention and to the sustainable development goal #4. Indeed, children without parental care, or other vulnerable children, have the same rights to quality education as every children and must not be left behind.” Adds Matthieu de Bénazé, Head of International Programs for SOS Villages d’Enfants France.
 UNESCO Survey 2017 – http://uis.unesco.org/country/ML
 US Department of State Report 2012 –https://photos.state.gov/libraries/mali/96825/International%20Report/mali_child_labor_eng_2014.pdf
 UNICEF Survey 2017 – https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/child-marriage/mali/