A family torn apart
One of the countries in World Vision’s top 12 most fragile contexts is Mali in West Africa. Andre Yebedie, Cluster Programme Manager at Koro, recounted this story of fear and joy in May 2021.
In the past few years, the central and northern regions of Mali have been marked by a deep insecurity, resulting in the massive displacement of people and significant destruction of livelihoods. Koro District is among the most affected areas. As a result, its local population, in particular women and children, are being affected by inequality and poverty, and have lost hope for a better future.
“I used to live in a village not far from Burkina Faso—Mali’s neighbouring country,” says 25-year-old Habiba. “One early morning a group of armed men attacked my village and took everything they could. I was alone with the children. My husband was visiting some friends in a close-by village. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a way to let him know what was happening with us.”
After the attack, she was forced to take her three children and flee the village, without knowing her husband’s whereabouts, and seek refuge and a job in Koro town.
Her husband Yacouba desperately searched from village to village, trying to find any information that could have helped him find his loved ones.
She could not feed her children
With slim chances of returning to her village and without hope of ever seeing her husband again, Habiba began collecting gravel and selling it to house constructors and earned money by washing clothes. But the pay didn’t bring in enough for the children’s needs. “I left my village empty-handed,” she says. “As a result, at my arrival in Koro, I could not feed the children.”
Thankfully, Habiba benefited from the food distribution programme run by World Vision’s emergency response in Koro. The food received – along with water purification products, cooking utensils, beds, and mosquito nets – meant she could feed and support her children for three months. The distribution also had another life-changing effect. After many months of unsuccessful searching, her husband Yacouba was able to find his family –through friends who also received food at the distribution point. He quickly joined them.
“For me, this food distribution was not only an aid. Thanks to this, my husband was able to finally find us,” Habiba says.
Yacouba adds: “I was so worried about my family; I had prayed for their safety. I was delighted to be reunited with Habiba and the children.”
Today, they live in a house that a host family lent them and have food to eat. The happy father added that his wife recently gave birth to twins.