Q: Can you tell us a little about yourselves?
My name is Issa Bamba, I am the protection and inclusion coordinator at IR Mali.
and I am Moussa Goita. I live in the Ramaco district, the capital city of Mali.
Q: How did you come to work at Islamic Relief?
I joined Islamic Relief in 2009, and during that time I was working within the orphans associate department. I like a lot of the work with the orphan children and especially the veteran sector.
I studied English in Algeria, and I started working at Islamic Relief in 2009 as a trainee in the orphan sponsorship department. From there, I started working on our micro-finance project, before becoming the media officer here in Mali, taking photographs, making videos of project interventions and producing documentaries.
Q: What inspired you to work in the humanitarian sector and do the work you do?
Well, I was very moved during my field visits. During one visit in particular, I met a widow who didn’t even have sugar to put in her tea due to extreme poverty.
Eventually, we were able to sponsor her children and during Ramadan, provided two food packages to her. She couldn’t believe that these packages belonged to her, she just stood and looked at the packages.
She was so happy that she stopped and broke into tears, and similarly also, I broke into tears. I can never forget it.
Q: What makes you #proudtobe a part of the community you’re helping to uplift?
I am very proud of my Bambara ethnicity and heritage, whereby the respect of elderly people and senior brothers and sisters is taught from early childhood. This respect for the elderly whether they are your parents or not is something that has shaped my life and which I am still proud of.
Something I’m very proud of is our hospitality to foreigners, it is a value very dear to all Malians. Once you are in Mali, sociability is the motto. The food cooked in the family is shared by everybody, regardless of their country of origin or family.
In the community we serve, the cultural practice I am very proud of is our joke-based parenthood (style). This type of upbringing is practiced only in Mali. It breaks barriers, taboos between senior brothers, junior brothers and is a bond that ties all Malians together regardless of ethnicity, tribe or religious sects. Thanks to this, our projects are very successful in many communities.
Q: What parts of your work are you most proud of?
Working at Islamic Relief is like a dream come true, because Islamic Relief represents everything I wanted in a workspace. Everything from its Islamic values to its many achievements in changing the lives of beneficiaries.
Everyone at Islamic Relief, all the people at HQ and my colleagues around the world are also really approachable. Whenever you interact with them, you are only met with a smile.
One thing I find amazing and interesting is the respect and trust Islamic Relief holds within the communities they serve. Within these communities, Islamic Relief is not seen as an organisation, but as a friend, a caring father, a caring mother, someone they trust with whom they can share their stories. I am always touched and feel privileged, whenever I hear the stories of beneficiaries, and whenever I convey those stories to the donors. This is what really keeps me motivated.
Islamic Relief is making a change in the lives of people, for the better, and that is something I intend to keep doing for the coming years, inshAllah.
I’m really motivated to work for children and that’s why I now work in protection and inclusion. It’s a very dear cause to me to be able to defend children’s rights. For me, it’s unthinkable that in our world, children cannot access their very basic rights due to poverty. That’s why I’m advocating, daily, for these children and all their peers to have access to their fundamental rights such as education, food, and health. This will enable them to enjoy life the way other children do.
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