THE KO-FALEN SPRING 2014 NEWSLETTER IS NOW AVAILABLE – CLICK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD
MUD CLOTH WORKSHOPS IN PORTLAND
Ko-Falen is engaged in Mudcloth Workshops throughout the Portland area. Images from daVinci Middle School Textile class workshop – 2014 – below.
In 2013, Ko-Falen Founder Baba Wague worked with the elders from Africa House—a branch of IRCO (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization) making mudcloth as an avenue of expression for African Immigrant elders learning english.
In 2014, Ko-Falen received a matching grant from RACC to
1) introduce Buckman Elementary School fifth graders to the geography, history and cultures of Mali through mudcloth. The mudcloth scarves created were personal stories by students, using mudcloth symbols to represent their character, hopes and dreams as they move into middle school. The annual Fifth Grade performance will incorporate mudcloth symbols and meanings. Each student will “receive” their finished mudcloth scarf to wear during Fifth Grade Promotion.
2) work with the textile class at daVinci Middle School to weave, dye, and then paint their mudcloth stories using natural dyes, traditional techniques and symbols. These mudcloth banners and scarves will be displayed in an exhibition at the end of the school year.
Click on “Workshops” tab above to read more.
Please click on the Updates/Mali tab above for recent very important information from Mali
End of year Raffle
Ko-Falen thanks all of you who participated in our End of Year Raffle and helped us reach our goal! Congratulations to our raffle winners Don Merkt and Missy Stewart! Baba Wague Diakite presented his hand painted platter to Don Merkt.
Read what families in Mali say about Ko-Falen’s Tutoring Program
Report from Baba Wague Diakite Dec 14, 2013
I caught up with the little girl called Tanti this morning accompanied by her great aunt on their way to a Sunday wedding of a relative. She was dressed in her best outfit.
“Tanti,” I shouted. “You look good. Where are you going?” The shy little girl dropped her head, staring at her feet below. “Can’t you answer Great Uncle Wague?” asked her Aunt Bintou. Tanti clutched tightly the rim of her skirt with her left hand, covered her mouth with her right hand and whispered “I’m going to Uncle Moussa’s wedding.” “Why are you so shy with Uncle Wague?” asked her aunt. Then Aunt Bintou turned to me and said “A personality is the other twin of a being. Even if you try to leave it behind, it will catch up with you.
The one for Tanti is definitely shyness.” After I took a quick snapshot of Tanti with my camera, they continued on their way. In reality, Tanti is not as shy as her great aunt thinks. I have often seen her playing with other kids in the neighborhood and also at Ko-Falen’s Tutoring Center. In fact, Tanti is full of energy and never stops running. Tanti–like other children in this culture–show their respect by not staring directly into the face of their elders.
Earlier I had talked to Tanti about school, as she is one of our students in our tutoring program at Ko-Falen Cultural Center. When I asked how old she was, she said she was 5 and then said she was born in 2008. This was also confirmed by her mother. “I was thinking to send Tanti back to the village to be with her grandparents. But when Batoma (Penda) gave money for her education, we had a change of heart and this is how she started at the Tutoring Center with Teacher Modibo. We take this seriously and Tanti is one of the regular students as well.”
Teacher Modibo also noted that indeed, Tanti is a regular in the class. “Though she is one of the younger students, she observes attentively what I teach to the older students. Her writing is perfect and her reading is improving.” Modibo said next year when she starts public school, she should have the experience of a second grader.
But like many kids in Mali, Tanti only has a handwritten paper from the hospital. Her parents had not yet gone to get her birth paper for lack of money. But they promised me that this is no longer the issue and that they will take care of it before school starts next year, as it is an entry requirement for school. Little Tanti said what she likes most about the tutoring program is the fact she is with all her friends and they all get the idea of what school is really about. Ultimately, her mother said, “This whole thing is not only about money. What Ko-Falen is doing does not exist anywhere in the whole of Africa. They are not only helping to raise our children, but they are building the future for a new generation. This is a role model that one of these children will certainly take and do just like you. We are blessed and we are thankful for it as well.”
Well folks, this is it, out of the horse’s mouth. Just like Tanti, many children that do not even have a birth paper started with Ko-Falen’s Tutoring Center and are now integrated into public school. We are proud to report most are in the top 10 best students in their classes. Many of our students are now in middle schools and high schools. This was only possible because of us. It is only my daughter Penda’s relationship with Tanti that highlighted her in this letter, but she is a typical example of many within the 61 students in our tutoring program.
The families send their sincere appreciation to the entire board of Ko-Falen and all the donors and wish them well in the rest of their tasks.
From Mali, Baba Wague Diakite