Our charity was started in 2001 by a group of people in the Oxford area after a visit by Sue Upton, an English development worker attached to the Malian agency Jeunesse et Developpement – ‘Youth and Development’ (J&D). She welcomed the suggestion that a small group of people in the UK could provide practical help, moral support and friendship links with J&D.
Over 20 years later J&D remains one of our two principal partners in Mali. The National NGO was set up in 1991 by 2 Malian graduates – Mamadou Kone and Mahamadou Cheick Diarra - strongly committed to development work in their country. Since its foundation J&D has become an accredited and well respected Malian NGO.
In addition to J&D, we are lucky to be able to support an extraordinary project with homeless street children in Bamako. Called Pensons a Demain – ‘Let’s Think about Tomorrow’ (PAD). It is led by a well-known and respected Malian artist called Kader Keita.
We have also aimed to promote Mali and Malians in the UK. We have convened meetings of development agencies working in Mali, held a national conference on the issues facing the country, and run an email network connecting people. We maintain good working links with Malian groupings in the UK and, until his recent retirement, with the Honorary Mali Consul to the UK. We also set up the Mali Interest Group FaceBook page.