Monday, December 30, 2013

Refugee Children Returning Home and to School!

I am so excited to tell you the good news........ families, students, and teachers of northern Mali are finally returning home from the refugee camps, where they have been seeking safety for two years now! There is a new President and parliament in place, Timbuktu and other large towns are beginning to thrive again. Don't get me wrong, there continues to be conflict north of Timbuktu, but the news I bring you comes from those on the ground in Timbuktu and other towns and villages, news you are unlikely to read about....
Many village and city  schools are back in session, overcoming challenges such as, finding the teachers that have returned and offering a salary to get them back to work (many working for food and lodging for now), and providing water and meals to the students.

Our project manager is back in Timbuktu and his family has just arrived from the camps as well. He has some outside work and keeps us informed. Many NGO's and aid organizations have re-established bases there. Families continue to arrive daily.
So, let the work begin! This week, we are starting our re-assessment of the village we halted work in two years ago, about 3 hours from Timbuktu in a 4x4 vehicle, to provide the school there with clean water, solar lighting, and sanitation programs for the students. We will begin work on implementation next month. Yippee.
So, HELP us KEEP GIRLS IN SCHOOL, and Give the Gift of Education to begin the New  Year. DONATE by clicking the donate button on the right margin of this BLOG, or do to our Facebook Cause page at:
I’ve seen how important it is for girls and boys to stay in school, giving them choices for their future. This 2014 EDUCATION campaign in more important than ever, with very little infrastructure in place, parents moving home and looking for work, and organizations like NomadHope beginning to improve the remote village infrastructure; children returning home need to restart their education and be in school every day. I want to give these children a better future, to avoid ever having to run to a refugee camp again, and after 14 years working in remote villages of northern Africa , I know it starts with schools.
Thanks to Rotary International, we are able to fund the infrastructure of this remote village school through a large grant, providing clean water, solar lighting, and latrines. This enables your donations to go solely to the needs to the students and teachers, for school supplies, uniforms, and temporary donkey transportation of clean water to the school. Every dollar you donate will immediately benefit students in classrooms, while we do the heavy lifting for sustainable solutions. I made my donation; can you take the journey with me?
Thank you for your patience and continued support of NomadHope, as we give girls and boys an education and a better future.
 Please click on our DONATE button to make your contribution! ... and pass the word, we're back.
Happy New Year,
Keely McGeehan
President of NomadHope

PS - as the assessment report rolls in, we will share more photos. Lots of work to be done, for example, the sand has encroached on the wall we built to surround the school, but the wall kept it out of the school building! So we need to do some sand re-distribution so the donkey's can't peek over the wall. LOL

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Cameras d'Afrique: The Films of West Africa

See this great October film festival coming up in Los Angeles:
 The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Loyola Marymount University present over 20 fiction and nonfiction films will offer students and general audiences a rare look at the wealth of cinematic talent that has emerged from West Africa in the last 50 years. Long a Francophone section of the African continent, the films generated from directors as varied as the Senegalese artists Ousmane Sembène to the Diop family–director Djibril Diop Mambéty, his composer brother Wasis and Wasis’ daughter, Mati–and Mali’s Souleymane Cissé wrestle with the cultural imperialism of Europe, while observing the traditions that shaped West Africa. Featuring appearances by directors, panels and a series of four free community screenings on the LMU campus. Please note: Program subject to change
LACMA- Bing Theater (5905 Wilshire Boulevard)
LMU- Communication Arts Building (1 LMU Drive)
Los Angeles, CA CA
October 3–October 28, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013 @ LACMA

5:30 PM – Bye Bye Africa
Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Chad, 1999)
The debut film by Mahamet-Saleh Haroun is a new step in meta-cultural commentary. Haroun draws his narrative from the real life forces that pulled him, and many artists from Francophone Africa, in several directions. Bye Bye Africa is a daring treatment of the age-old story–being a continent man versus a man of the continent. (86 mins)

8:30 PM – Grigris
Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Chad, 2013)
U.S. premiere
Winner of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival Vulcan Award
25-year-old Grigris dreams of becoming a dancer, despite his paralyzed leg, but his dreams are dashed when his uncle falls ill and Grigris must work for a gang of petrol smugglers in order to save him. Featuring original music by Wasis Diop. (101 mins)

Saturday, October 5, 2013 @ LACMA
12:00 PM – Finyé (The Wind)
Souleymane Cissé (Mali, 1982)
Two classmates from disparate worlds find themselves in the midst of a political stand when a force of nature drives another such force into action. (100 mins)

2:10 PM – Borom Sarret

Ousmane Sembène (Senegal, 1963)
As Borom Sarret struggles to make a living with his streetcar,the film becomes both a social statement and an extremely personal story. When Sarret enters the forbidden and exclusive quarter of Dakar, he takes a stand against how he is treated. (20 mins)

Followed by:
2:30 PM – Panel: The State of African Cinema

Monday, October 7, 2013 @ LMU
7:30 PM – La Femme Porte l’Afrique (The Woman Wears Africa)

Idriss Diabaté (Côte d’Ivoire, 2008)
A documentary about the daily lives of women who work to provide for their children in the hopes that they can go to school and escape a life of poverty. (52 mins)

Followed by:
Tilaï (The Law)
Idrissa Ouédraogo (Burkina Faso, 1990)
Winner of the 1990 Cannes Film Festival Grand Jury Prize
IN PERSON Idrissa Ouédraogo
Saga returns home to his village to find his father married to Saga’s fiancée, Nogma. A family destroyed from the inside by an envy that binds two brothers together even as it drives them apart. (81 mins)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 @ LACMA
7:30 PM – Caméra d’Afrique

Férid Boughedir (Tunisia, 1983)
Director Férid Boughedir’s first documentary takes the viewer from 1960s through to the 1980s, showing both a curatorial eye as well as an artistic perspective on African filmmaking. (95 mins)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 @ LACMA
7:30 PM – L’Absence (The Absence)
Mama Kéïta (Senegal, 2009)
After achieving great success studying abroad in France, Adama, a young engineer, rushes back to his home country of Senegal when he receives a telegram saying his grandmother is very ill. His brief stay will revive a family drama seemingly forgotten. (82 mins)

Followed by:
Buud Yam
Gaston Kaboré (Burkina Faso, 1997)
IN PERSON Gaston Kaboré
Set in nineteenth century Niger, Buud Yam is an absorbing tale of self-belief versus fate. Wend, a young tribesman, fights against his bad luck as he tries to be a better man to his adopted family than the father who abandoned his mother. (97 mins)

Monday, October 14, 2013 @ LMU

7:30 PM – Au Nom du Christ (In the Name of Christ)

Roger Gnoan M’Bala (Côte d’Ivoire, 1993)
A social satire about religion and organized faith, Magliore is a pig farmer turned miracle man who claims to be a cousin of Christ. (85 mins)

Preceded by:
Et la Neige n’Etait Plus (And the Snow Was No Longer)

Ababacar Samb-Makharam (Senegal, 1965)
A young Senegalese scholar comes back from France. What has he learned? What did he forget? How will he confront the new African realities? Et la Neige n'Etait Plus exposes 1960s African youth culture with candor, courage and humor. (22 mins)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 @ LACMA

7:00 PM – La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil (The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun)

Djibril Diop Mambéty (Senegal, 1999)
After Sili, a young beggar, is attacked she decides to challenge the rule that only boys can sell newspapers on the streets of Dakar and determines to provide for herself. (45 mins)

8:15 PM – Yeelen (Brightness)
Souleymane Cissé (Mali, Burkina Faso, 1987)
An epic tale of Niankoro’s quest to find his father and the grandmother who has tried to keep the father–a deadly wizard–away from him. (105 mins)

Monday, October 21, 2013 @ LMU

7:30 PM – Xalima La Plume

Ousmane William Mbaye (Senegal, 2004)
Mbaye’s documentary focuses on the life and mastery of folk singer Seydina Inya Wade, whose unique guitar and vocal stylings created a powerful storytelling convention. (51 mins)

Followed by:
President Dia

Ousmane William Mbaye (Senegal, 2012)
This documentary, set in the world of Senegalese politics, recounts the story of President Senghor and Prime Minister Dia’s efforts to rebuild their homeland. When Dia’s vital Socialism began to emerge and galvanize the country, Senghor had him removed and Dia tries to comprehend every level of his betrayal. (55 mins)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 @ LACMA

7:30 PM – Mille Soleils (A Thousand Suns)

Mati Diop (Senegal & France)
Los Angeles Premiere
Mille Soleils picks up 40 years after the film Touki Bouki left off, exploring what has happened since the film’s two young lovers, Mory and Anta, have separated. Mory, who stayed in Dakar after Anta went to Paris, now wonders what happened to the love of his youth. (45 mins)

8:15 PM – Touki Bouki

Djibril Diop Mambéty (Senegal, 1973)
Influenced by the French New Wave, Touki Bouki is the story of Mory, a brash young rebel who cruises the streets of Dakar on a motorcycle, and Anta, the woman he loves. Their dream of leaving Dakar and moving to Paris is ruined when Anta leaves but Mory stays behind. (95 mins)

Special Screening! Wednesday, October 23, 2013 @ LMU
7:30 PM – Tey (Today)
Alain Gomis (Senegal, 2012)
Winner of the 2013 FESPACO Gold Stallion Award and Best Actor Saul Williams
IN PERSON Alain Gomis and Saul Williams
In his third feature, director Alain Gomis takes a well-worn topic in Senegalese cinema and turns it on its head: unlike other films, many of which choose to focus on emigration and neo-colonialism, Gomis’ work instead tells the story of a man who leaves America to return to the land of his birth. (88 mins)

Thursday, October 24, 2013 @ LACMA
7:30 PM – Soleil O (Oh, Sun)
Med Hondo (Mauritanie, 1969)
Soleil O tracks an African desperately in search of his French ancestors who eventually discovers what has been taken away from him, and questions whether a sacrificed soul can be reclaimed. (102 mins)

Monday, October 28, 2013 @ LMU
7:30 PM – Le Damier (The Draughtsmen)
Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda (Gabon, 1996)
The Founding-President-for-Life, the first citizen of his country, plays draughts–a verbal duel where both players hurl insults at each other– with the man known as the all-class people’s champion and becomes “Papa National Oyé.” (40 mins)

Followed by:
Abidjan Des Enfants (Abidjan Children)
Idriss Diabaté (Côte d’Ivoire, 1999)
Part documentary, part animation, Abidjan Des Enfants shows children working odd jobs in their daily lives in Abidjan. The cartoon was created by the Abidjan children and tells the story of a young boy, Guede, whose adventures take place in their city. (47 mins)
Info forwarded by the UCLA African Studies Center

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Another School Year in Mauritania!

Program Summary (See Project Overview and Statistics below)
In 2012, NomadHope and the Rotary Club of Manhattan Beach began this pilot project, and provided support for thirteen (13) Malian “urban refugee” families and their forty (40) school-aged children. The project focuses on helping urban refugee children remain in school and out of the refugee camps, until they can return home to Mali. These families are Malian refugees living in Nouakchott, the capital city of Mauritania.
This program gave thirteen (13) families a “leg-up” for six (6) months in order to avoid the alternative, moving into the very large (75,000 people) refugee camp in Mauritania where conditions are tragic and continuation of education is unlikely. Each family has between two (2) and eleven (11) family members including one (1) to six (6) school aged children and living with them in Nouakchott, from primary school through university age.
The financial support we provided, $100 per month per family for six (6) months, was used for food, housing, school supplies, and transportation to /from school, as well as the fees for private French speaking schools for the older children that could not make the transition to Arabic used in the Mauritanian school systems (Mali schools are French speaking). The youngest primary school students were placed in public schools and began the transition from French to Arabic.  Many of these refugee families are comprised of only women and children with many run by elderly women that are unable to work. The men and older boys frequently leave to find work elsewhere, coming and going, leaving the women to keep the children in school. Some men have returned home to Mali periodically, to check on the livestock and the potential to return home.
Program Results
Ten of the families began support in July 2012, as a pilot, and completed the program in December 2012. Three additional families were added when funding became available, from October 2012 through March 2013.
After nine (9) months of operation, the project resulted in a 79% success rate keeping twenty-three (23) of the original twenty-nine (29) school-aged children from thirteen (13) families, in school and out of the refugee camps. The participating families had sixty-one (61) family members living together, including the twenty-three (23) children enrolled in school with good results. Four (4) of the original thirteen families could not find the financial means to remain in Nouakchott when the six month program ended and had to move their families into the refugee camp or to other cities. Some of the families that have successfully remained in the Nouakchott, had to send some family members to the refugee camps, keeping only one adult in the city to assure their children can stay in school.
The participant students wrote letters to us with photographs, and their parents recorded short videos, indicating how they used the funds and their excitement to be going to school. The funds were used in July and August to establish housing near the schools and in September to purchase school supplies and enroll their children, then the remaining funds were used for weekly housing, food, and transportation costs.
Satisfaction is very good for all participants. The first ten families publically thanked NomadHope and Rotary during their final meeting with Adjmor in December, noting that the assistance we provided was crucial to their existence outside of the camps and that there was no other assistance offered to them due to their status as unregistered “urban refugees”. They pleaded for further assistance both for their families and to add additional families to the program, as it has been instrumental in their children’s continued education.

Next Steps:
For the school year beginning in August 2013, we would like to assist an additional twenty-five (25) families with approximately seventy-five (75) school aged children. This assistance will give seventy-five (75) refugee children the potential to complete the 2013-14 school year and stay out of the refugee camps for another year. (See funding needs below).
Funding Needed:
The costs for this program in 2013-14 school year, is $636 per family or $15,900 for twenty-five (25) families with seventy-five (75) students, including local project management and support on-site.
Thank you

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Monday, October 22, 2012

RALPHS' Shoppers, HELP KEEP GIRLS IN SCHOOL - you must renew annually!

YOU MUST RE-REGISTER EVERY YEAR in September to participate. So if you were helping us last year, you need to do this again!
All you need to do is swipe your keychain bar code card or enter your phone number at the register, and you will be helping KEEP GIRLS IN SCHOOL!

1.      LOGIN to Ralphs account
2.      you will be on the Community Contribution Program page, where you can SEARCH for “SAHARA” and select SAHARA SOLUTIONS FOUNDATION #92117 (which is NomadHope's 501(c)3)
3.      check the radio button listed under “2.”
4.      Save Changes, and you’re Done!
1.      ENROLL here;
2.      enter your zipcode
3.      select your store
4.      agree to the terms
5.      check your email for the confirmation, click on the email link
6.      you now have an account, and need to SIGN IN
7.      click on COMMUNITY REWARDS, and then Edit Community Contribution Program Information
8.      Enter the 12 or 13 digits on the back of your Rewards card
9.      Input our 5 digit NPO number '92117', or search for "SAHARA". We are listed as Sahara Solutions Foundation (
You're done! now every time you shop at Ralph's and swipe your card, you are helping us KEEP GIRLS IN SCHOOL.
Did you lose your card or you use your phone number at the cash register? Call 800-660-9003 to get your REWARDS card number.

Members must swipe their registered Ralphs REWARDS card or use their phone number that is related to their registered Ralphs REWARDS card when shopping for each purchase to count.

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