KODIAK — Students at Kodiak Middle School raised $1,000 to give electricity to a school in Mali, west Africa.
The partnership between KMS and the middle school in Dielibougou, Mali began after Kodiak resident Heather Preece brought a longtime friend Mahim Toure from Mali to Kodiak last year. During his one-month Kodiak stay, Toure shared his culture with the people of Kodiak and gave presentations in classrooms and to the community at large.
Kodiak Middle School principal Ron Bryant learned that Toure’s wife, Mariam Diop, was a principal at a middle school in Dielibougou, Mali. The school teaches students from seventh through ninth grades.
Bryant thought it would be good to form an international partnership with the school, so students in Kodiak could be exposed to different cultures and places.
“It’s good to give kids a global view, and we succeeded,” he said.
When he was talking with Toure, he learned the school in Mali didn’t have any electricity, which limited their ability to use technology to teach students.
Bryant asked KMS student council members if they wanted to do something for the middle school, and students voted to send $1,000 to Mali to install electricity. The money paid the initial startup costs to install the necessary electrical components. Toure told Bryant they should be able to sustain the monthly electricity payments once it was installed.
Rafael Bitanga, a member of KMS student council, said the organization sold candy grams for Valentines Day and held several school dances to raise the money.
“We wanted to help kids at the other school because they don’t have electricity,” he said. “It feels really great to get to help the kids there because there’s not much money to buy the things they need.”
The money was transferred to the school several weeks ago. Shortly after it was transferred, Preece received a call from Diop.
“The director of the school called me at my home one day after they got the money transferred and I had to hold the phone away from my ear because she was so excited and laughing and almost crying. She was so happy.”
Kodiak Middle School students tried to connect with the school in Mali via Skype on Friday morning, but were not able to get a good video or voice connection.
Even though they were only able to make out faces and colors on the video feed, Kodiak’s students were excited to see the faces of the kids they helped.
“As long as I came and got to see them,” said Marianne Roy, a sixth-grader. “It was pretty exciting for me.”