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mali black history month

Black History Month: #ProudToBe Malian

Islamic Relief has been a household name around the world since 1984. During that time, we’ve been working with communities to lift people out of poverty and help transform the lives of millions by providing them with their basic rights.

None of it would be possible without the support of our generous donors around the world, and the thousands of our colleagues globally who have committed their lives to doing this incredible work.

An integral part of the legacy we’ve been able to build over these 37 years, has been our amazing people on the ground who have joined us for this journey.

So, we’re reaching out to our colleagues in the field to ask them about what inspires them to do the work that they do, how they came to join what is now a global humanitarian organisation and what makes them proud to be a part of the communities at the heart of their work.

Part of ensuring that the team we’ve built genuinely works to serve those in need, is making certain that our colleagues in the field are local experts, who understand how best to serve the communities they themselves are part of. It is guaranteeing, that when aid is provided, the dignity of our sisters and brothers around the world is sustained and that we’re able to provide the best of care.

Localisation is essential to our life-saving work, and these are just some of our incredible colleagues in Mali who make it possible. Sharing what makes them #proudtobe Malian, are Issa Bamba and Moussa Goita of Islamic Relief Mali:

Issa Bamba (left) and Moussa Goita (right), staff at Islamic Relief MaliAssalaamu ‘Alaykum!

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourselves?


Wa’alaykum Assalaam!

Issa Bamba:

My name is Issa Bamba, I am the protection and inclusion coordinator at IR Mali.

Moussa Goita:

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?

Issa Bamba:

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.

Moussa Goita:

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?

Issa Bamba:

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?

Issa Bamba:

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?

Moussa Goita:

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.

Issa Bamba:

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.


Save a child’s life today by donating to our Orphans and Children appeal here.

Donate to Islamic Relief today and help save lives.


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