April 2 2012

Uncertainty in Mali leads to evacuation of SOS Children's Village

02/04/2012 – The movement of armed rebels and subsequent political instability in Mali has led to the evacuation of 140 children from the SOS Children’s Village in in the city of Mopti to other facilities 600km southwest of the troubled northeast African state.     

Photo: A.Gabriel
SOS Children's Village Mopti, where 14 SOS families have moved from - @ A. Gabriel

On the day, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad was reported to have taken control of the cities of Timbuktu, Kidal and Gao in the north and east of Mali, 140 children accompanied by their SOS mothers and family assistants undertook a bus journey, where they headed south to safety.

All 14 families were evacuated from their homes in the SOS Children’s Village Mopti to the SOS Children’s Villages in Sanankoroba (553km) and Kita (600km).

The move was taken as a precautionary measure on 1 April, following a military coup that has left the country in crisis since the country’s elected president was overthrown on 21 March. Mopti, located on the banks of the Niger River, is a strategic transit hub linking the country’s major cities.

Photo: SOS Archives
Sharing is caring - The Sanankoroba SOS Hermann Gmeiner School where children make space for young visitors from Mopti  @ SOS Archives

Children's wellbeing is paramount

The newly arrived SOS families are now all safe and are being hosted by their counterparts in Sanankoroba and Kita who are happy to share their homes, schools and other resources.

Apart from the care of children in SOS families, SOS Children’s Villages Mali continues to provide over 4,000 individuals with a variety of services including three SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools and SOS Kindergartens in addition to a youth facility. Six social centres offer family strengthening programmes, psychological support, health training and counselling in some of the country's most disadvantaged communities.