is the fuel for an inspired life. Witnessing another human being overcome an obstacle and grow beyond what they imagined, shifts our perception of what is possible. We all transform in the process. Win-win.

As I am doing our taxes and going over the year’s receipts, I am reminded of the people who reached out and in that moment of generosity, changed the lives of 12 Malian girls.

In Mali, women are still considered inferior to men. This viewpoint is not only cultural, but supported by the state. Under family law, women are required to be obedient to their husbands. According to Brahim Koné, president of the Malian Association of Human Rights, the position and treatment of women is one of the biggest human rights abuses in Mali today.

The legal age for women to marry is 15 and many girls are being promised to marriage at the age of 13. Four of the girls in the Instruments 4 Africa program will turn 14 this year. Being part of a group focused on education, empowers them to believe in their abilities and make wise choices. They are among the 33% of Malian women who can read or write.

Through education, mentoring and traditional arts training, the I4A girls are realizing their potential.

2010 was a year to:
-get to go to school everyday
-own a new school uniform
-learn to read
-train in traditional dance, music and theater
-be able to go to the doctor and get medication
-sleep under a mosquito net
-make friends from other cultures
-know my rights as a woman
-build confidence
-reach out to others
-believe change is possible
-realize we are all human and equal
-believe in miracles

Thank you to all the generous friends and supporters, like Toubab Krewe, who make the I4A program possible. I want to shout out to the American International School of Bamako & the director, David Henry. Their support this last year has been phenomenal. Between the school-to-school tutoring program, headed by Robin Pascucci, and the walk-a-thon donations spearheaded by Calley Connelly & Abdel Yatarra it has been a successful year. The girls could not have made the progress they did without your support. Thank you!