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My name is Aminata S.
I'm 13 years old. I come from Touba in the Koulikoro region in Mali.
My family being so underprivileged and living in extreme poverty, my older sister brought me to the city (Bamako) and placed me with a family to be their servant/domestic (she does the same job in a different part of town)
I get paid around $15 a month to do household chores (cleaning, sweeping, laundry, dish washing, going to the market, etc...) and I also get sent to sell mint around town after I finish my daily chores.
If I lose even a dime from the mint sales, my mistress beats me up, yells at me, and sent me back to find the money or else.
I haven't got any friend, and have never been to school because my parents couldn't afford it. I have been deprived of my childhood and am forced to be another child worker in the city of Bamako, where many others like me face the same unfortunate situation, and end up either pregnant, beaten, or unfairly used and ripped off of months of salary. I never knew happiness in my entire life. This is my story.
Update: January 2017
Sadly Aminata could not be located despite our strong will to find her and help change her life conditions. The informations she provided us with didn't lead anywhere. We will keep hope to eventually find her, and will keep an update on her case.
My name is Amadou T.
I'm 7 years old. I come from Bamako, capital city of Mali.
My father died and my mother doesn't have enough means to take care of me and my little brother. I can't afford to go to school so I roam the streets of Bamako all day (and sometimes nights) in quest of something to bring home to help my mother take care of us. It's very difficult out there, sometimes people abuse me and take the little money I collect in the streets, and some days I get nothing all day. But I must keep going for my family.
I see other kids going to school, and I wish I could do the same. I want to learn how to write, read, and speak well, so I can become a doctor and save people's lives. That's my dream even if I cannot afford to pursue it. This is my story.
Update: December 2016
We are excited to announce that little Amadou is no longer roaming about the streets of Bamako. We've been able to find him a school and provide him with necessities so he can live a normal childhood. We will keep an update on his progress.
My name is Ouassa C.
I'm 23 years old. I come from a family of 13 children. I have lived in extreme poverty since I can remember. I was around 6 years old when my father died, money was tight so I started going around town selling brooms to help my mother take care of the family.
I managed to finish high school while selling brooms, and doing little jobs here and there.
After my high school graduation, I took a break from school and started working as a servant/domestic for about 7 months in order to make some money to pay my school fees and continue my studies. I did everything, cleaning, cooking, doing laundry and dishes (all by hands) doing all house chores. I was paid about $20 a month.
After that, I could finally go to the university where I studied a 3 year program in education science. I still had to keep going around selling brooms to help myself and my family, while going to school.
I then added another 2 year program in finance administrastion to my studies. I graduated and found it impossible to find even an internship, let along a job. So I had to go back to selling brooms full time so my brothers and sisters can eat and go to school.
I have suffered and have lived in extreme poverty my whole life and would like a chance at a better future so I can help my mother take care of our family. This is my story.
Update: December 2016
We are happy to announce that the Circle Of Joy Foundation has provided Ouassa with founds to start her own small business. She's now able to take care of herself and also help her family. We will be following her steps and keep an update on her progress.