The Leo Association
Since 1999, the LEO Association goal has been to support abandoned, handicapped orphans in Bamako, Mali. These children suffer from both being orphans and handicapped.
Leo is the name of the very first orphan taken into the care of the association and his smile has become its emblem.
There are few resources in Mali to care for such disadvantaged children. The Centre d’Accueil et de Placement Familial (CAPF), known as the ‘Pouponnière de Bamako’, is the only public organisation in Mali that takes in abandoned children although its main purpose does not take into account the handicapped.
Donations allow us to hire local staff who share the same culture and traditions as the children and who ensure that their handicap is treated not as a death sentence but as a condition.
LEO IN 10 QUESTIONS
In 1999 in Bamako, Mali, Juliette Soto became aware of the exclusion from society suffered by very young handicapped orphans. In order to support their cause, we created a registered charity in France (under the law of 1901): Leo
Leo is the name of the first orphan the charity took under its wing; his smile became the emblem of the charity. He is now more then 20 years old and has made progress in spite of his serious handicap.
– Support abandoned handicapped orphans in Bamako, they are doubly excluded by being both orphans and handicapped.
– Prioritise above all the interests of the children when seeking solutions in their own country with local partners and the Malian public authorities to their funding requirements and their futures.
– Put emphasis on their care and activities: neurological consultations, orthopedic treatment, therapy, schooling, educational activities, teaching, play…..
Places for handicapped children to live do not exist in Mali. CAPF, otherwise known as the Bamako Children’s Home, makes room for them in the absence of an alternative. The oldest child is more than 20 years old….
Local Malian professionals: doctors, therapists, educators….The charity helps to pay for the fees.
There are many different problems: Motor disability handicaps, mental illness, cerebral palsy, autism….
The number of children is growing constantly: there are 40 in 2017 with regular new admissions but also there are deaths due to the frailty of these children and the difficult sanitary conditions. In Mali, 1 child in 5 dies before the age of 5 years old.
Some of the children are able to enjoy adapted schooling. All of them benefit from care: neurological, psychological, orthopedic, therapy…
All of the group participate in educational and teaching activities, in outings: the museum gardens, the park with games, the zoo…
Under a partnership agreement with the local ministry guardian, the charity provides funding to care for them and to educate them: the children are improving, they do not suffer from malnutrition and they are benefitting from ongoing medical supervision. We have been caring for some of them for more than 17 years, sadly others have short lives.
From the generosity and loyalty over the last 17 years of sponsors, and donations from individuals, associations and businesses.
In Bamako : CAPF, DNPEF, Santé Sud, Centre Bernard Vespieren, CRHP, AMALDEME. CNAOM, Spana.
In France : Santé Sud Marseille, Demisenya, Klali Nantes, Le Cœur au Mali Rodez, Blachère Apt, Rencontres des Cultures Saignon, Mairie de Mazan, Malik Nejmi.
hese children are very weak, improvement in their care cannot happen without the permanent involvement of the Malian guardian authorities who determine the methods of intervention and the effectiveness of specific actions linked to the handicap.
Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and donors, the Leo volunteers are able to work to support handicapped orphans in Bamako and continue to seek funds to:
– Strengthen local competencies in partnership with the professionals of the Santé Sud Marseille and Bamako NGO.
– Study the feasibility of family placements, and professional and social inclusion for these children and young adults within the Malian socio-cultural context.
– Participate in the development of a living space project adapted to the needs of the growing handicapped children. 60% of them have passed the age limit for the Bamako Children’s Home (5 years old) and 3 are now adults.
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We are all volunteers
Working with volunteers means not only that we can reduce our expenditure but it provides a strong human dimension to our work with the handicapped orphans who have very special needs.
Board Members : Catherine COSTE – Claire DENIS – Thierry MUR – Christian NENON – Patricia PECHON – Bernard PECHON – Juliette SOTO
Serving handicapped orphans
We support handicapped orphans to serve their interests alone in dealing with the Malian authorities and local partners to improve their daily life and their future.
Care and Education
We pay for medical care, neurological and orthopedic consultations, therapy, schooling, play and teaching activities.
You can support our activities with handicapped orphans by completing the donation or sponsorship form.