Just the Facts...
Status: Complete

School: N'Tjola Primary School

Country: Mali

Municipality: Domba

Village: N'Tjola

Donor: The Spangberg Family

Partner: BuildOn

Year: 2010

Students: 66

Why we work in Mali:
● Mali ranks #160 out of 169 countries with data on the United Nations Human Development Index, a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standard of living.

● The adult literacy rate in Mali is estimated at 38% for men and just 17% for women.

Our first school in Mali is complete!

In June, 2010, Jim Ziolkowski, buildOn's CEO, led 15 American buildOn high school students and the rest of the buildON trek team into N'Tjola, Mali where they were welcomed by over 1,000 people in an incredibly joyous celebration of the arrival of the team that would build the village's new school. With the help of the visiting team of high school students from buildOn programs in Connecticut and Detroit, the people of N’Tjola broke ground on their school on July 1, 2010. When the American delegation left two weeks later, all 6,500 bricks for the 3-classroom structure had been molded and the foundation had been dug and poured. After an amazing contribution of 2,081 volunteer workdays, the villagers completed the construction on October 10, 2010.

For the first time, girls will be able to go to school just like the boys in a part of the world where this has not been part of the culture. Check out the videos listed below to see some footage of the group's arrival, the signing of the covenant by the village, and the start of construction.

Many thanks to Kjell and Liselott Spangberg and the entire Spangberg family for their generosity, which made this project possible.

Previous school - one classroom
A fantastic video of the arrival of the buildOn trek team, the signing of the covenant by the village, and the start of construction is available on YouTube. Click above to check it out!
The New School!
Ousmane Togola, 56 years old, head of the school committee, farmer and grandfather of five students

"I’m so excited for this school donation to my community. You cannot know the impact it already has on the kids and parents: the motivation it brought to the children and the relief for the parents at having their kids getting an education in good conditions. This school will increase the number of students and improve education in our community. Before we had to send our kids away for education, now we are able to watch them learn and grow.
This school donation brought a great change in the community and for sure will continue to have a deeper and deeper impact as time goes on because everybody has the same objective and that is to send kids to school. On behalf of the chief and in my name, I would like to tell the donors and the buildOn staff “thank you so much” for the invaluable work. We now realize that school education is the only way to improve women’s living conditions. Today in our country, women are the most affected by poverty because of the role they play in the family; educating them will help decrease this burden. buildon gave us the motivation to support our daughters’ schooling by showing us how important school is for girls.
Thank you so much for your help. We’ll treasure forever this wonderful gift and maintain the school to the highest standard. Aw n ice aw ka deme la. (Thank you for your help)."

Youssouf Togola, 36 years old, teacher and farmer, father of 2 students, school committee treasurer

"First of all, I say thank you to buildOn, to the donors and to the student team for their invaluable work. Only God can reward them for what they did for this community. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for turning our dream to reality. The entire community is grateful to all of them. May God bless them and give them long life!
The donation of this school to our community brought an incredible and tremendous change in the quality of education in our village. The conditions have improved a lot; parents and kids are more motivated, the schooling rate has gone up. This year, there are 66 kids enrolled in school: 40 girls and 26 boys; even kids who have not yet reached school age come with their older siblings. Thanks to the buildOn methodology, parents got more information on the importance of girls’ schooling. Girls have the same privilege and right to education as boys. Thanks to this school, kids do not have to walk five kilometers away anymore. They get an education in their own village, and parents can watch them at any time. We, the teachers, have more control over the kids and the kids pay more attention to their classes.
The coming of the Trek team opened people’s eyes to the value of education and friendship. We’ll never forget this opportunity we got to meet them. It has been a great experience for us. Working as one team on this school has enhanced or reinforced links between people. Also, this school gave a modern aspect to our village. Any person who comes through our village admires the beauty of the building. Thanks to buildOn, our school is a government school and we can get government teachers. Thank you so much to buildOn, to the donors and to the Trek team who we miss very much. We can’t forget you."

N'Tjola Community Profile

N’Tjola is a decentralized village located in the municipality of Domba, 118km away from the buildOn office in Bougouni. The population is estimated at 1,070 people comprising 63 families. The community belongs to the Bambara ethnic group, one of the largest ethnic groups in Mali.

Daily Life

The people of N’Tjola live in two main sections and many hamlets (where people settled on their fields). Most houses have roofs made only of straw. The primary activities in N’Tjola are agriculture and livestock breeding. Millet, rice, peanut and cotton farmlands surround the village. There is an adequate supply of drinking water in the village, and the road to N’Tjola is passable all year, even during the rainy season.

Previous School Conditions

There is only one classroom in N’Tjola, which was built by the community in collaboration with CRADE (a national nongovernmental organization) in 1997. It was built with mud, has broken doors and windows and needs to be plastered up every year after the rainy season before classes can start. There is currently one teacher in N’Tjola and there are 45 students enrolled in the school. The community understands the importance of education and is eager to work with buildOn to construct its first permanent school building and participate in the Community Education Program. The community is very motivated and has already collected an important quantity of sand and gravel for the schoolhouse. The people were very excited to meet the Trek team and to work alongside students from the US.