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Note to Dining for Women Members

March 1, 2017

Dear Dining for Women Members,

Dining for Women logo

Having just returned from my annual trip to Timbuktu to see the Caravan to Class programs in action, including our DFW-funded Female Adult Literacy programs, I wanted to include you in the distribution of this trip note.

I personally observed the Female Adult Literacy program in action in three villages where Caravan to Class works near Timbuktu; the villages of Kabara Sans Fil, Kakondji, and Bantam. I can tell you personally that I was very impressed with both the attendance and the interaction of the women. Many of them said that it is the most enjoyable thing that they have ever participated in: spending 4 hours per day with other women in the village where they can forget about the challenges of daily life and just learn the basics of reading, writing and understanding their local language, whether Tamashek or Songhai.

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Mali Update, February 2017

March 1, 2017

Dear friends,

I just returned from my annual trip to Timbuktu to see the Caravan to Class programs in action. While Caravan to Class is focused on literacy for Timbuktu, our BIG GOAL is nothing short of a Timbuktu Renaissance for this deserving and fabled place that can demonstrate its important cultural heritage of scholarship. 

After learning more about Timbuktu and Caravan to Class’ programs, I hope you will agree that this special place is worthy of our support! What follows is my trip note to donors.

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Caravan to Class Chosen as Featured Grantee for 2017 by Dining for Women

Dining for Women logo

In a very competitive selection process, Caravan to Class has been selected as a featured grantee of Dining for Women (DFW) for 2017 for a Female Adult Literacy Program in 10 villages around the fabled Timbuktu. After a successful pilot Female Adult Literacy program in 2016, Caravan to Class—with the DFW grant—will expand the teaching of basic literacy in two native languages to 200 women in ten villages.

As related by Ms. Fadimata Mohammed, program attendee in the village of Tourari, “The program has changed our lives a lot. Most of us had no concept of reading and writing in our language. We have been given, by the foundation Caravan to Class, such a practical gift, but more importantly ideas in our minds about how we can improve ourselves.”

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Caravan To Class Loses a Friend

Passing of Ms. Irma Turtle, Friend of Timbuktu!


May 5, 2016

Dear Friends:

Some of you will be aware by now, but I wanted to make sure to send you this sad note...

I learned earlier this week that Irma passed away a few weeks ago. She had been battling Parkinson's Disease for a few years now and finally decided to end her suffering. As a friend of hers wrote to me, Irma told her "I have happily and gratefully released myself from the confines of this physical body which has gotten too difficult to endure due to stage 4 Parkinson's and extreme, chronic sciatica."

Timbuktu has lost a dear friend! Irma worked tirelessly, for so many years, through TurtleWill.org, to create better living conditions for so many in Timbuktu (and elsewhere in Africa). Even in her final days, though I did not know it then, she called me to ask me to send her close friend in Timbuktu, Jiddou, some money and she then sent Caravan to Class a check to cover that. I could tell that she was not in the best health, though she was very interested in hearing about the recent developments with Caravan to Class. Even though she had not been to Timbuktu for well over seven years, she still carried an infectious enthusiasm for this place I have come to care for.

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Mali Update, February 2016

Dear Supporters of our Kakondji school construction project on Global Giving:

I wanted to provide an update on my February 2016 trip to Timbuktu about both the security situation in Timbuktu and Northern Mali, and most importantly our just-completed school in the village of Kakondji.

Once one of the world’s most literate places, and more recently an important travel destination for the intrepid traveler (it is hard to believe now that Bono was in Timbuktu only 4 years ago), today Timbuktu is a surreal place of ancient UNESCO World Heritage sites, pastoral scenes of camels and donkeys transporting agriculture, and more than 3,000 UN Peacekeepers. There are military checkpoints everywhere in a heavily militarized environment void of tourists and non-UN foreigners.

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Read the interview with CTC founder Barry Hoffner, catch up with progress on literacy programs and Caravan-to-Class press releases.

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