Schools built in Mali, Africa affect thousands of lives

Mali is a West-African country that stretches into the Sahara Desert and is about three times the size of California. With a population of more than 14 million people, it has many of the same problems that many third world countries have to deal with. Including the fact that half its population lives below the international poverty line, living on $1.25 a day.

Dr. Scott Lacy, who was named the Stow Munroe Falls High School Class of 1989 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient, was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, and he also did work for his dissertation there. Dr. Lacy’s connection to the area was so strong that he created a social organization called African Sky which provides financial relief in Mali.

In an effort to reach out to the poor families in Mali, the school’s DECA, Interact Club, foreign language clubs, and school-wide activities are raising money to build a “Stow School” in Mali. With a goal of raising $14,000, DECA, Interact and foreign language clubs have reached $8,000 of the $14,000 target. Because education is key in escaping poverty, the $14,000 will be used to build a school for the children of Mali.

“We love fundraising for such a great cause,” senior Gino DeMarino said. “Dr. Lacy is an awesome guy who has great intentions and ambitions for the people of Mali. They are lucky to have him on their side.”

A total of 10 schools are being built in Mali by African Sky, and more than 1,000 lives will be affected by these efforts. Each school will serve approximately 100 students annually. The Interact Club is selling t-shirts to support the building of the school in Mali. Short-sleeved shirts are $10 and long-sleeved shirts are $14, with all proceeds from the t-shirts going toward the building fund.

Every December, DECA hosts a Mali-ball tournament in which teams compete in a volleyball elimination tournament bracket using an exercise ball. Mali-ball has become a DECA tradition for three years now. Mali-ball has teams of five people and the cost to play is $5 per person. The winners receive gift cards and the event is held the Friday before Christmas break.

“Dr. Lacy loved coming out to Mali-ball and watching and speaking to all the teams who participated and donated to this organization to build the Stow School,” Demarino said.

According to africansky.org, the impact of fundraising events like Mali-ball can be very powerful.

“African Sky’s energy is contagious, and its actions are far reaching, as is evident by the schools being built and the money being raised. We’ll never know how far some of those ripples reach, but we know they’re there and that they’ve made a positive impact on a life. It makes your heart sing,” Dr. Lacy’s mother, Christine Lacy, said on the organization’s website.

For more information on African Sky and how to contribute, visit africansky.org.

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