Whilst still respecting Malian culture and traditions, the Leo charity works with local human resources to achieve better understanding of the nature of handicap – that it is a sickness rather than a death sentence.
There are few resources in Mali to devote to the needs of children such as these who are excluded from society. Even though recognition of their handicap does not detract from their official mission, the Centre d’Accueil et de Placement Familial (CAPF), otherwise known as the Bamako Children’s Home, makes places available for them in the absence of anything better.
An annually renewable partnership agreement with the CAPF and the Direction de la Promotion de l’Enfant formalizes reciprocal support undertakings for:
– The improvement of reception and living conditions for handicapped orphans with, from 2002, the construction and fitting out of new locations including three dormitories, a bathroom, and an activity and therapy room,
– Internal and external medical care by a psychiatrist, physiotherapist, speech therapist and pyschomotor therapist,
– Internal education activities with 4 educational staff including 1 storyteller
– External education activities within the school system (Amaldéme, CRHP, Amasourd) and outings to the museum gardens and the Cite des Enfants park.
Thanks to the generosity of donors, the children have had a means of transport since 2011.
The purchase of a minibus has had a huge impact on the ability to take handicapped children to medical appointments, treatment sessions and therapy.
The partnership with the NGO SANTE SUD www.santesud.org
In 2006, The Leo charity approached the Marseille international NGO, SANTE SUD, which does projects in the sphere of handicapped and vulnerable children. Furthermore, the NGO has an office in Bamako, which is led by Malian development professionals, which allows them to tackle the current and future difficulties of handicapped children when dealing with the Malian public authorities.
The partnership with SANTE SUD in Marseille and Bamako started in 2007 with an exploratory mission. Then between 2009 and 2013 we worked together on the first programme to help abandoned children, “ The development of an integrated approach to prevent the abandonment of children” which comprised 2 constituents:
– Preventing children being abandoned in Mali
– Improving the conditions of care of children taken in by CAPF with a programme of internal reorganization and the training of staff.
Since then, the head of the childhood project at SANTE SUD Bamako has been coordinating the Leo activities in the handicap section and represents the Leo charity in the missions by Leo volunteers to Bamako.
2015 – Leo starts a 2nd 3-year programme
“Reinforcement of the protection of and respect for the rights of abandoned children in Mali” for:
– The creation of national norms to receive abandoned orphans,
– The funding of training for staff with regard to specifically handicapped orphans and the establishment of a database to monitor better the children.
During missions to Bamako, the Leo volunteers work together with CAPF, DNPEF and the SANTE SUD professionals who represent the Leo charity locally.