Since the mid 1980’s, the Alliance has held a signature fundraising event in Downtown Salt Lake City to benefit impoverished rural Malian villagers. However, in Mali, wealth is not measured by material wealth or the accumulation of possessions. Wealth is measured in hope, which is why the Alliance has always emphasized self-sustaining and grassroots programs, all of which emulate from the villagers and tribal leadership. As our website states, all of our programs “develop from the underlying premise that the citizens of Ouelessebougou will themselves identify the most crucial needs and locally viable and sustainable solutions”.
While Utah-based board members and staff often have valuable perspectives and input, their outlook is never viewed as more important than that of village leadership, our Mali staff members and the citizens within the 25 villages where we partner. We are proud of this. We celebrate this, and we hope that you will join us in celebrating this on April 21st.
When our Utah-based staff members or volunteers travel to Mali, they typically have similar revelations. They become enamored with Malian hospitality, food, culture and most importantly, the indomitable spirit of the Malian people. They’ve had to endure so much, and still they persevere.
The Ouelessebougou villagers are resolute, strong, virtuous, giving, generous, thoughtful, kind, humble, passionate, accepting, unselfish and loving. Although we originally established a sister community partnership between Utah and Ouelessebougou because of the potential for long-term and sustainable partnership, it continues because of their hard work and dedication to help themselves and their families in the midst of difficult circumstances.
We love Ouelessebougou. We love Mali, and we hope that you will join us in celebrating the invincible spirit of the Malian people and their culture.
As the African proverb states, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. Together we lift each other and together, we can go far.