I4A girls getting ready for performance at the American International School.

The African Dance Party at the American International School was a success and so fun, thanks to the Community Service Student Volunteers at the American International School and their sponsor, Robin Pascucci. And big thanks to AISB for stressing the importance of community service and hosting related events.

We started the evening with a performance by the Instruments 4 Africa Dance Troupe. They were so happy to wear their new costumes (thank you, Suzan) and share the traditional songs & dances they have been learning. Next came a dance lesson for the elementary kids from the American School, their parents and several teachers. The lessons were taught by the I4A girls troupe Malian Dance Coach, Lassy Kone. Thank you, Lassy! Great job by Lassy and the I4A girls…engaging the group and creating community through music and dance. We closed the evening with a community dance circle and gave everyone a chance to share their moves in the center of the circle. It was definitely one of the best times so far this year. So much laughter and joy! We all left with huge smiles. I am reminded of the power of music as a means of self-expression, relating to others and finding fulfillment.

In the upcoming weeks, I will be introducing each of the girls in the Instruments 4 Africa program, giving you a window into their life. Stay tuned.

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In support of cultural preservation and artistic development, Suzan and her friends from Holland have donated instruments and new costumes for the girls dance troupe. Thank you, Tanti Suzan! The girls are learning a new performance piece to be debuted in the Spring. They can’t wait to show you how all their hard work and your generosity have paid off!

Happy New Year!  Thank you for your support in 2010 and we look forward to growth in 2011.  Abundant blessings to you and your family from the Instruments 4 Africa family!

The generosity of friends and relatives provided supplemental tutoring sessions during the winter break.  The girls met for reading, language arts, science and math for 3 hours almost every day of their vacation.  These sessions allowed the four girls in the 7th and 8th grade to catch up to their class.  The girls in primary school, 3-5 grade, still need the extra tutoring and we are working closely with the Director of their school to make sure they are on level soon.

The Instruments 4 Africa program would not be possible without the support of our generous volunteers!  I especially want to give a shout out to Robin Pascucci for her commitment in all aspects of creating opportunities for the girls.  So grateful.  And also to Abdel Yattara for his support in furthering the girls’ academic growth.  And big thanks to the high school tutors from the American International School of Bamako.  Their one-on-one tutoring sessions have made a huge difference in the girls’ progress this first trimester of school.  You guys are awesome!

Robin & Abdel visiting the girls' school.

Looking for an original holiday gift?  For a donation of $100 USD or more, the Instruments 4 Africa girls choir will sing a custom praise song (in Bambara) for you or for someone you would like to honor.  In Mali,the praise singer, or griot is the community historian.  They provide an aural history of Mali’s proud culture.  Honor your loved ones this holiday season with a praise song!  Click her to donate through our causes page on facebook.

In the last week I have had several friends ask how instruments4africa came to be.  I explained how going to the Togola Community Center over the years and seeing the kids there, inspired us to start the program.  Put simply, guided by our hearts, our heads figured out a way we could help.

In other words, ‘reality as it is’ became a part of my daily existence.  While I was going about my business, the real world crept into my ordered, organized routine.  The reality beyond my experience overwhelms me sometimes….I feel sad and scared, but I try not to run away.  I can’t turn my back and hide in my neat & tidy bubble.  I cannot not do something.

The glue that holds instruments4africa together is hope.  The girls in the program are happy and hopeful for a future they are entitled to.  I am filled with hope today too.

We have paid for the first two trimesters of school and are currently fundraising to pay for the third.  It cost about $25 USD a month to pay for one girl to go to school, have the proper supplies, get tutored after school and receive training in the traditional arts of Mali.  Please consider making a gift donation this holiday season.  Click here to join us on facebook to get the word out and where you can also make a tax-deductible donation.

Greetings from Mali!

100% of the donations received by Instruments 4 Africa go to serve the children in our program.  We are a small grassroots organization, managed by a team of dedicated volunteers who live and work in Bamako, Mali.  We supervise the after school tutoring and mentoring program and attend the traditional arts training classes led by Malian master teachers.  Please click here to be taken to Instruments 4 Africa facebook donation page.

We have been building relationships based on trust in the local community since 2003.  This allows us to work directly with kids and their families to give them the opportunity to gain the skills necessary to step out of the cycle of poverty.

Your donations are tax-deductible.  Little by little the bird builds the nest.  Please join our cause on facebook or click here to donate !  Thanks to all…you make a difference!

Thanks to all of you who made donations and held fundraising events this summer to support the students and families in the Instruments 4 Africa program!  Please join our cause on facebook and you can click here to donate there as well!

Thank you  Toubab Krewe and Craiggie Brewing Company !

Thank you  Bikram Yoga Grapevine !

Thank you  Super Yoga Palace!

Thank you  Sharrie Williams and the Maybelline Story !

Thank you  Kendall Bergman, Kathy Cogar, Urska Manners & Robin Pascucci!

Thank you  Kristin Pepper and the kids at AISB!

Thank you to Tove and Torborg from Sweden!

Thank you to Sander, Astrid and Suzanne from Holland!

Thank you to all of our Friends and Family!

Because of your generous donations the girls started their new school on Monday….stay tuned for photos and a full update!  Remember all your donations are tax deductible…every little bit goes a long way for these kids!  Click here to be taken to the donation page (secure website through facebook causes).

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While I am in the USA this summer, fundraising and getting the word out, the girls will be attending summer technology camp at the Togola Community Center.  I can’t wait to get back and see how much they have grown!

The core 12 girls that started the I4A program in September are still going strong.   I am inspired by their dedication to learning and to each other.   Each day before and after school, they help care for younger siblings, go to the market, clean and cook.   At least 3 times a week their parents allow them to come to the Community Center after school for English, dance, music, theater and art lessons.    During their school vacations, the girls attended lessons at the Center 6 days a week!   Kudos, they are learning and having fun!    They support each other to dream big and set goals around their education and future.   They help each other with homework and chores at home so they can attend their lessons at the Center.   They have formed their own ‘girls club’ and it is wonderful to see them taking pride in their accomplishments.