Saloum was one of the neighbors' kids. His violent father used to beat him up, and constantly threatened to kill his firstborn son. When he first kicked him out, his Muslim neighbors forced him to take back his son. The second time, Saloum sought refuge with us again and stayed. He is a very intelligent kid who loves to learn.
In January of 2009 Saloum moved out of our house and back in with his family. In August 2010 he returned to our household when we employed him as our day guard. In November he became our driver. He goes to evening school to continue his education.
Adama does not know when he was born, only that it was in Sikasso, in the south of Mali. As long as he can remember, he lived with his mother's brother who was married to one wife and had two children of his own. Over the years, Adama saw his mother a few times, but never his father. His mother died when he was in 12 years old, and he was told that his father has died as well.
Adama was first sent to a Quranic school for a few years, though he does not know how many. At the age of 10 he starts first grade in a regular school since his uncle saw that that was more beneficial. In the fourth grade he starts skipping school, walking around on the streets, and staying away from home. For a whole year, again and again his uncle would look for him and take him home. However, Adama did not want to go to school, and did not want to be beaten by his uncle any more. So at the age of 14, he finally left Sikasso and went to Bamako to get away from his uncle.
In Bamako he is on the street for about 3 months before he first comes to our center around Dec 2007. When we started opening our doors for the street children to spend the night in a safe place, Adama is among them, and one of the most frequent visitors. He comes to know Jesus and starts a new life with him. In November 2010 Adama becomes our day guard, and is baptized in water.
Adama has one younger brother who still lives with his uncle as far as he knows. He hasn't seen him since leaving his uncle's household.
Joseph was born as Mohamed near Segou, to a Burkinabe father and Malian mother. His mother died in childbirth when Joseph was 9 years old. His father and the three children then moved o the capital Bamako where they lived with a friend of his father's. His father then lost his eyesight and died when Joseph is 11 years old. He's the middle child of the 3 kids. His father's friend wanted him to go to a Koranic school, but he refused. So his uncle was called to come up from Burkina Faso, and he took the three kids with him to his country, where they lived with him. Joseph's task there was to take care of the cows.
Two years later, his uncle threw out Joseph's older sister, and in shock about that, he left as well. He was 13 years old and on the street. He decided to go to Bouaké (Ivory Coast), and then on to Bamako, where he spent two years on the street. On November 1st, 2008, Joseph first came to sleep on our property, and a few weeks later, he was baptized. On March 15 we took him in. He's doing evening school - it's his first time going to school - and hope to train him as a gardener.
Joseph loves Jesus and is hungry to learn and grow in his faith. He has a bright future ahead of him.
Florent was born in Bamako (Nyamakoro). He attended school and stuck out as a very smart kid. While in third grade, his Dad died. So his mother took her three kids and moved to Sadiola (Bougouni) where her husband had built a home. Florentin did not return to school there but was watching his little brother while her mother went to the market as a seller to support the family. Some time later they left and moved to Kayes where a friend of Florentin's father lived. They didn't stay for long but returned to Bamako.
Once in Bamako, Florentin's mother got remarried - she's her husband's third wife. Instead of going to school, Florentin started an apprenticeship at a mechanic's. He didn't get along with his step-father who he describes as mean since he was encouraging his three big soons to beat Florentin up all the time. So in spring of 2008 Florentin left and went begging on the street. He was on the street for half a year before hearing of us, and then spent another half year on the street but sleeping at our place. He was baptized in November 2008, and now he's a part of our family.
Karim was probably born in the Sikasso region in the south of Mali around 1995, and lived with his parents while he was small. At the age of 7 his father sent him away to another town to go to a Quranic school; Karim stayed with the mayor there. After 5 years of the Muslim school, he had enough, and his father let him return to his home. However, he had divorced his mother in the meantime.
At the age of 12 Karim started first grade in a regular school, and finished it. He had a hard time with his father's other wife, though, and decided to run away. That's how he arrived at the bus station in Bamako where he got into drugs and sex, but did not resort to stealing. After two months on the street Florentin (now also one of our children) invited him to our center. When we opened our base for the kids to sleep there in Sep 2008, Karim was among the kids of that first night. During the following two years he grew in the Lord, was baptized, and learned to read. When we took him in, he was one of the most faithful street children to sleep on our base, having logged over 500 nights.
Jérémie was born as Abdoulaye in Bougouni, a few hours south of Bamako. His Mom dies early, and his Dad remarries a woman Jérémie does not get along with. This woman has twins twice, being challenged with 4 little kids.
The family moves to the capital, where things don't get better. Because of the family situation, Jérémie keeps running away. After his second year at school, he spends the summer with his grandfather but doesn't like it there either. Back in Bamako for his third year in school, he starts moving around, living with different friends of the family, but it never works out. During the summer holiday he finally runs away all the way, and spends one month on the street before he first comes to our place (28 Oct 2008). His family looks for him everywhere, with the intention o putting him into children's prison. In December we take in Jérémie, after he's baptized and shows a desire to start a new life with us, and his family gives their permission.
Amadou was born in Nyemakoro. His Mom dies early, and so he grows up with his Dad. In 2007, 8 years old, a year before he comes to us, his Dad kicks him out of the house, during his second year in school. So he lives on the streets, trying to find plastic he can then sell. Today Amadou has finished second grade.
The first place Youssouf remembers is the village of Sanderegé, just across the Malian border in Ivory Coast (near Sikasso/Kadiolo). His Mom is his father's second wife, and he is the middle child of five, with two older brothers and a younger brother and sister. While he is still young, first his father dies, and then his mother shortly afterwards. The first wife's oldest son becomes the head of the family, and he takes Youssouf to a marabout (Muslim teacher) in Sikasso. Amazingly, he stays there for two years, learning the Quran and taking the beatings before he's had enough and returns home. However, his older half-brother beats him up for having run away and takes him back to the marabout. This time Youssouf doesn't even stay 2 days before he runs away again - to live on the streets of Sikasso.
For about 9 months he sells water on the street, bevor another street kid suggests they'd go to the capital Bamako. Once in Bamako, he is on the street for 2 to 3 months before he first comes to our center in July of 2010. However, he only spends 14 nights with us over the course of the following 12 months. He sleeps at one of the big markets of Bamako, watches TV, and gets scraps from vendors. He claims that he never stole or tried drugs.
In the summer of 2011, he starts sleeping on our base regularly and is quickly noticed for his interest in Jesus and great behavior, and given a chance to get off the street once and for all.
Having been born crippled on his left side, Hama has from the beginning been doomed to a miserable life. Rejected by his parents and by society, he had to live without love or attention, being beaten and his parents leaving him alone frequently.
Today Hama knows how to laugh. Today Hama DEMANDS his daily hugs, squeezing so tightly you can't imagine his age. Hama is a cheerful dancer during worship, loving to praise God, and "Hallelujah" has become one of his favorite words. Hama is very dear to my heart, and he has also become the older boys' little brother, spending the whole day with us.
That was until he moved out with his family at the end of August 2008, just two weeks after starting the international school, where he now has a chance of getting an education. In May 2009, his father abandoned the family, and in June 2009, the children moved back in with us.
At first Boubacar was growing up with his parents in Sokorani (he doesn't know where ein Mali that is). He's the oldest son, and has younger sister, and a little brother. When he was around 5 years old, his parents gave him away to a Muslim teacher in Manankoro. He stayed with that Marabout for less than a year. Since the Marabout is beating up the kids, Boubacar and a few other kids decided to leave and go to Bamako together. So ended up at the bus station where he spent his days begging for money. It was the summer of 2008 when he arrived in Bamako, and in November he first came to our base and started sleeping in our dining hall. Half a year later, we adopted him into our family.
Bakary's parents are dead, and he's handed over to his grandparents who cannot take care of him. Therefore, at the age of 3, Bakary has to walk around on the streets to find food to survive. When we are asked to take him, we immediately agree. Today Bakary is part of our family and goes to kindergarten.
As a girl, Sarata's chances in life in Mali were very bad; female genital mutilation, married by 12, raising kids and working hard the only thing in life.
When Sarata came to live with us in Sep 2005, she was severely malnourished. She developped wonderfully, becoming a smart little girl with a keen mind. In August 2008 she started attending an international school, and moved out of our home two weeks later.
In May 2009, her father abandoned the family, and in June 2009, the children moved back in with us.
Fanta's third child - after Hama and Sarata - he was born in a clinic in Bamako on a Sunday morning. He's the first child who's born into our household.
In May 2009, his father abandoned the family, and in June 2009, the children moved back in with us.