After months of struggling to get by and not knowing where the next meal would come from, Maimouna Cisse has finally received some respite from the hunger that’s blighting Mali.
‘Today is a great day and our thanks go to those who’ve remembered the poor and needy,’ she says, after being supplied with 50kg of rice from Tearfund partner TNT.
Maimouna is a mother-of-seven who lives in the town of Gao, which has been in the frontline of Mali’s ongoing conflict between Islamic groups and Malian forces.
Long lasting crisis
‘I never thought the crisis would last so long,’ said Maimouna, for whom regular meals have been a distant memory over recent months.
TNT has supplied 2,000 people in Gao and Timbuktu with rice, targeting the most vulnerable households – widows, orphans, the elderly and people with disabilities.
Maimouna, who is supporting her family alone, said, ‘We were always hearing that aid was given by this or that organisation but my family and I never even got a piece of rice. I want to thank the people who are bringing us this aid.’
TNT is working with local communities and authorities to supply 20 tons of rice to those most in need.
Abdoulaye Aboubacar has seen his business as a tailor dry up as people forgo weddings and social occasions due to the conflict.
‘Our business no longer has any value,’ said Abdoulaye, who has 11 children to support. ‘I am currently ill and I suffer from high blood pressure.’
For him, the rice from Tearfund is vital: ‘This is the first time in eight months that I have brought home a 50kg sack of rice. My infinite thanks. This sack of rice is like gold for me and my family.’
Another rice recipient, Lamine Younoussa, who is visually impaired, said, ‘I can’t tell you how happy we were to get it.
‘We really thank you for this gesture of solidarity and love. We have prayed for you and we are sure that God will hear our prayers on your behalf.’
Finally Hawa Moussa provides telling insights into how important the food has been for people who have felt isolated and overlooked.
Recalling life before the Tearfund distribution, the widow, who has four children, said, ‘There were days where we didn’t eat anything.
‘The [food] shortage is so great and the solidarity that existed yesteryear has disappeared. Today it is every man for himself. Thank you for thinking of others and for this bag of rice.’