A boy and a girl from Mali posing in front of their school.
Minute Read

Granny's blessing: a plate of food

Food donations help fight generational poverty in Mali.

Most of us can recollect good memories of our childhood spent with our grandparents.

Aichata's recollections are no different.

Four years ago, Aichata and her sister moved to their grandmother's house because her parents had no means to look after her and her siblings.

 “I live with my grandmother and my little sister, Fatoumata, in Youré village,” says Aichata. “My parents live in another village far from here. I did not use to like staying here, because granny did not have food to feed my sister and me.”

In the past, the girls only had one meal per day at the school canteen, as their grandmother had no means to cook an extra meal for the family.

School girls from Mali pictured in front of their grandmother's house.

“I'm in 3rd grade and my sister in the 1st grade,” says Aichata. “We do not have the same timetables, but we finish school at the same time, so around noon we are free to go home for lunch.”

Most children will be happy to go home for lunch as soon as the classes end, but this was not the case for girls, as they knew that going home at noon meant spending the rest of the day with an empty belly.

“Knowing that there was nothing to eat at home, we use to would stay there and wait for the school canteen meal to finish, eat and attend the afternoon classes before heading home for the rest of the day,” says Aichata sadly.

“I am so glad the people with the orange t-shirts help us."

Aichata's 51-year-old grandmother regrets the fact that the girls had to go through this hardship and explains that things were not that bad before the conflict.

“Before the ongoing instability, I use to farm, collect and sell firewood and charcoal,” she says. “These activities allowed me to feed and take good care of the girls. Today, despite the insecurity it is very difficult for me to make ends meet, without any support from elsewhere."

It is common practice for grandparents in Africa to bringing up their grandchildren, especially when parents do not have the means or when grandparents live alone. After Aichata’s grandfather passed away, the lonely widow asked Aichata's parents to look after the girls.

In many African cultures being raised by your grandparent is associated with greater stability, safety, the maintenance of relationships with siblings and extended family members, and the continuation of cultural identity and community ties.

Grandmother from Mali posing in front of her house with her two grandchildren.

“I come from a large family and when my parents told us that we were going to live with our granny, I was very happy, because I was sure that she will look after us very well."

"When we first moved here, my parents used to send us a bag of millet every month. But after some time they stopped and after that we used to go to bed starving,” says Aichata, looking down.

Food was not the only thing the family lacked. The girls did not have school supplies or clothing. Fortunately, the family received a helping hand through the Resilience and  Cash Transfer program run by World Vision in their area.

“I am so glad the people with the orange t-shirts help us. The day she [granny] received the money, she started to have peace of mind and a smile on her face every morning because she knew we would no longer go to school hungry and that we would start eating a nutritious breakfast."

"She was also able to buy us clothes, school materials like pencils, and notebooks and bags,” says Aichata with a smile.

Schoolgirl from Mali smiling at her school desk in an empty classroom.

Aichata’s grandmother felt blessed.

“This year, I was lucky to receive 60000 FCFA ($108). This money allowed me to look after the children,” she says. “I used this money not only to buy 100kg of rice, sugar, and flour during Ramadan but also to fixed a broken door in the house .”

She doesn’t have the words to say thank you.

“I really cannot thank you—World Vision—enough for this money, knowing that I received support without asking for it. This support gave me hope for a better future,” says the grandmother.

“I wish that the same people helped my granny to start her activities so she can earn money to look after us properly. Because I want to live with my granny and my sister for a long time,” says Aichita.

“I desire to become a teacher when I grow up. I wish my sister and I will succeed at school to have money that will allow us to eat nice food and help other people like us when we grow up.”

Your donations will help children like Aichata fight hunger and stay in school.

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