Rebuilding Livelihoods in Mali: Little by Little

By Alinta Geling

Teresa is a kind and warm-hearted woman living in the town of Douentza in the central region of Mopti. A great cook, she sells fried cakes on the side of road, creates delicious home-cooked meals, rice, and sauces to sell, and on occasion, caters parties, weddings, and funerals. Life, however, hasn’t been easy for Teresa, who lost her husband, her business, and her elderly mother during the political crisis in 2012.

By the end of the crisis, Teresa found herself head of a household of seven children with no means of support. Luckily, she was able to slowly rebuild her life with the help of an NEF grant, which enabled her to restart her business and feed her family. Teresa also received sacks of millet, which she uses to create mouth-watering fare ready to be sold to hungry travelers.

Almost everything Teresa earns goes toward educating her children because she believes it is crucial for their futures. She is proud her daughter is studying to become a nurse and does everything she can to pay the yearly school fees in full and on time. Life will never be the same for Teresa, but she is determined not to let it get her down. “We’ll manage,” she says smiling. “Petit à petit.”

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