Building New Hope with A Reconstructed Health Clinic In Mali

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Health is a great blessing. Our understanding of life, dignity, and grace is that every human being has the right to have access to health care. Yet, ruefully many emerging countries do not have access to essential health services. This includes medicines, treatment, doctors, and hospitals. Due to lack of resources, increases in medicine prices, and economic decline, it's genuinely heartbreaking to see children, women, and men suffering from the lack of essential health resources. Unfortunately, it is the reality of their country's dire condition, even though it's their fundamental right to have access to health services. Here's a story of new hope because of your donations.

Bananzolé is a village in the city of Bamako, the capital of Mali. The population comprises various ethnic groups like Bambaras, Dogons, and Mandings, who live together in total harmony. This population has been estimated to be 2.245 inhabitants, where more than 52% are female and 48% male. Youth and children are more than 50% of the population.

Like many other rural areas in Mali, Bananzolé does not have adequate operating infrastructures except for a school, and meager resources come from traditional agriculture. There were no health facilities. The inhabitants had to travel up to 25 kilometers to the neighboring boroughs of Ouéléssébougou or Marako to obtain access to health services. Two health-related events have played a critical role in the launch of the clinic.

Both are related to women giving birth on the roadside, on the two occasions in the presence of several young men. This had happened several times in the past. Still, the latter was quite unbearable. The youth decided not to wait any longer for any hypothetic help from either local or central governments. They decided to build a clinic with their bare hands, using the mud and adobe, since they had no financial resources.

Two twin brothers, benevolent, who were builders and bricklayers, were leading them. After observing their commitment, the chief of the village and the elders decided to collect money and help them build in concrete rather than mud. The youth would still be the workforce. Unfortunately, the amount of money collected by the villagers ran out. They had to stop building and find other resources or partners.

This was when the Zakat Foundation of America was contacted for help.

By virtue of Allah (SWT), after visiting the project site, several meetings with youth, villagers, administrative authorities, and consulting engineers, a concept paper was submitted to our Program Division at headquarters in Chicago.

Immediate feedback was obtained, the project was endorsed, and funding was provided. Thus, the work started again with close monitoring and follow-up by Zakat Foundation Mali staff. 

We contributed all construction materials (sand, cement, iron bars, paints, woods, etc.), medical and office equipment, stock of essential medicines, water well and electricity powered by solar energy, a three wheels motorcycle to be used as an ambulance, and to allow a smooth start, three-month salary wages for the team of nurse, birth attendant, and doctor.

In addition, the community contributed their energy and manpower and youth volunteers, to whom women would bring food. As most of the young men were also working on their crop fields, they organized the work on a rotational basis. During the process, Zakat Foundation of America's Mali team, with assistance from our partners, helped in capacity building for the designation of a clinic management team, the raising of resources for the operation of the clinic, the coordination and supervision from and with higher-level health reference facilities in Ouélessébougou and Marako which are the closest biggest districts.

By God's grace, here we are. The clinic is built, fully equipped, and the population is triumphant and happy. They decided to organize festivities for the inauguration of the clinic on June 5, 2021. Bananzolé population and diaspora and populations, traditional and administrative notabilities from other neighboring villages attended this memorable event during two nights and one day.

Our organization and our partners were guests of honor. Official speeches and testimonials from beneficiaries (including beneficiaries of existing programs) expressed their satisfaction and recognition of our work on such a critical project.

They also constantly repeated the positive impact of the water well we helped construct, the livestock project, the Orphan Sponsorship program. They were thankful and made many duas for Zakat Foundation of America, our donors, namely The Merchant Family for the clinic, the family of the late Omar Alsheik for the water well, the sponsors of the children and our partners. They were instrumental in realizing the programs and in the achievement of the women's clinic.

Our Mali team thanked them all for the duas, commended them for their initiatives, participation, commitment, and solidarity, urging them to make the best use of the clinic, equipment, and other infrastructures.

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Alhamdulillah, after hard work, commitment, effort, and collaboration, we finally received cheerful news. On Friday, blessings August 13, 2021. The 1st baby was born at the Bananzole woman health clinic built and equipped by the Zakat Foundation of America. Her name is Mariam. May God grant her a long, healthy, beautiful life.

Six more mothers were expecting delivery at the clinic on the same day, August 13, 2021. A couple of others are receiving ante-natal consultations. We genuinely appreciate your support. Your donations made a difference in mother's hearts. There's hope inside their hearts now. The hope is to provide a healthy life for their children, their families, and themselves. They do not doubt living a dignified life after providing them with one of the most fundamental rights every human being should have. This favor is from God, and then it goes to donors like you. We want to thank you again for leaving a positive impact on those pure people. You left a benevolent mark in the village of Bananzolé. May God reward you.