Guest post! Building schools in Africa.

I have been attending World Music/CRASHarts concerts featuring Angelique Kidjo since 1994 and continue to enjoy her amazing performances.  Not only does her music move me, I also greatly admire her personal commitment to improving educational opportunities for girls and women in Africa through her foundation “The Batonga Foundation.” Her work parallels my own commitment to providing educational opportunities for the youth of Africa.   I thank World Music/CRASHarts for bringing to Boston these important African artists who are not only exceptional musicians but care about their homeland and want to ensure that their people receive a better life. 

I head up a VERY small non-profit organization that raises funds to build schools in the Sikasso region of southern Mali (   Since 2005, we have built 11 schools and just broke ground for our 12th school with fundraising beginning for the 13th school in this region.  Since most of the communities where we are building have no schools at all, or are holding classes in very substandard settings - windowless storerooms, for example - our emphasis is on education for both boys and girls, but on my annual visits I have seen that in many communities, there are more girls enrolled than boys, so that's a very encouraging trend.  Education in Mali used to be thought unnecessary for girls, and now it is viewed as being of major value, even in remote rural communities.

The idea for this work was conceived in 2002 as a high school humanities project, with the goal of helping to build one school in southern Mali.  It has been more successful than we ever could have hoped.  Most of our funding comes from school projects and small individual donations.  With community input in Mali (land, sand and gravel, unskilled labor, etc.) we can build a three room school in three months for about $30,000.   “Build a School in Africa” contributes half.   If you would like additional information, please check out our website above. 

Build a School in Africa

-Judith Lorimer, Founding Director of “Build a School in Africa”