The Gorge - Flash Bristow's Website
Annual Progress Report

Dear Miss Wilson,

I am sure you are eager to hear about the progress made by Sekou and his family. My name is Marinfa and I am a PLAN staff member working in the community of Djidjan where Sekou lives. I recently visited Sekou's family and spoke with his father Lassina. We talked about many things and during our conversation he told me of the changes which had taken place in the last year both for the family and the community.

Sekou's progress

Let me start by telling you about Sekou. As you can see from the photograph he is growing up fast. Lassina told me that he enjoys football. He says that he would like to be a government worker when he grows up. Children know that they play an important part in the family life and are proud of their responsibilities even though their tasks can be time consuming. Sekou helps his family with small errands. Sekou is not attending school because he is too young.

Strengthening a friendship

Sekou is still not able to write his own letters. However we will encourage him to communicate with you in other ways, perhaps by sending you a drawing. In the meantime Hawa a community volunteer will be writing to you on behalf of the family who are looking forward to strengthening their friendship with you. It gives them a warm feeling to see that you have shown concern for them.

Sekou's Family

There have been no changes to the family living in the household over the past year[1] so Sekou continues to live with the following people.

Sadio, his mother, a housewife
Lassina, his father, a peasant farmer
Ardiouma, his brother. He is too young for school
Soumaila, his brother. [Sadly this brother has since died.]
Fatoumata, his sister. She is attending the primary school.
Sira, his brother. He is too young for school.

Sekou's health

Lassina told me that fortunately Sekou has been healthy over the last year.

Progress and acheivements

In addition to the small daily changes that happen in any family around the world, Sekou and his family together with friends and neighbours have worked hard over the last year to improve their standard of living. Participating in community meetings and sharing responsibility for carrying out projects is an important role in the community's partnership with PLAN.

All their efforts together with your valuable support have made the following projects possible, projects that will benefit the whole community either now or in the future. The attached photograph[2] illustrates one of these projects.

To prevent the spread of childhood diseases, a vaccination campaign was held in the village. All the children and young mothers received free immunisation through PLAN and the local Ministry of Health staff.

The community of your foster child regularly received health and nutrition information sessions from local staff during the past year. Through these sessions women are taught how to prevent childhood diseases as well as how to improve their diets. To protect children from malaria, a campaign in the use of impregnated mosquito nets was helped by PLAN in association with local NGOs.

Young girls and women face considerable health danger due to FGM (female circumcision) in Mali. This year in the community of your foster child PLAN conducted sensitization sessions to highlight these health dangers through video, theatre and local debates.

This year with PLANs help your foster child's family improved the traditional well from which they get their water. This well will improve the quality of the water they obtain reducing the chances of water borne diseases.

During the past year PLAN assisted the community by purchasing a bicycle. This will be used by community volunteer to better facilitate their work including collecting letters. They also received training on how to collect better information about your foster child's family.

In your foster child's village, an adult literacy center was build and equipped by PLAN. This center will educate men and women how to read and write in the local Bambara language. They will also learn how to calculate, as well as community organisational skills. The classes are held in the evening or at night.

PLAN has also assisted the community in building a school administrative office at the local school. This will help the school headmaster to have an appropriate working environment to ensure that the school functions correctly and that the children receive a good education.

PLAN has helped your foster child's community to build a kindergarten and equipped it with games and benches, even uniforms. This will help the younger children to obtain the basics of education prior to attending formal primary school from the age of 7.

During the year PLAN constructed latrines at the local school. This will allow children access to toilets while at school, improved sanitation and prevent the spread of diseases within the school compound.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about the changes and improvements that have happened in Sekou's family and community over the last year. They appreciate your support and encouragement and are looking forward to sending you more news next year.

I would like to add my thanks and send you my best wishes.

Marinfa Coulibaly, PLAN staff member.

[1] This contrasts with the letter which the family sent me in July in which the family told me one brother had died. I asked PLAN for details; they apologised and found out for me that it was his youngest brother. The progress report will have been put together earlier in the year.

[2] The photo of one of the projects was not received. PLAN have said they are happy to ask for one for me, but as it would be quite awkward to arrange I have told them not to worry about it.

This page last updated: 19 July 2004

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