6/5/2013: Last month the First Lady of France, Ms. Valérie Trierweiler, and the First Lady of Mali, Ms. Traoré Mintou Doucouré, paid a visit to the SOS Children’s Village in Sanankoroba, Mali.
The First Lady of France talks to children at the SOS Village in Sanankoroba, Mali.
Professor Mamadou Marouf Keita, President of SOS Children’s Villages Mali, welcomed the First Ladies by reminding his audience of the cooperation between France and Mali. "It is a great pleasure and a remarkable honor for us to welcome you to one of our facilities caring for children in need: orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable. It is especially fitting because this Village, the first one in Mali, was the fruit of the French and Malian friendship and their continuing commitment to child protection.”
The First Ladies were welcomed by three children with bowl of cola nuts, a traditional Malian symbol of hospitality, before being given a tour of the Village. After a short ceremony headed by Professor Keita and the mayor of Sanankoroba, SOS children put on a play for the First Ladies, excited to show off the skills they had picked up in their music and arts classes.
First Ladies Laud the Work of SOS
"We came to Sanankoroba to make our modest contribution to the children," said Ms. Traoré Mintou Doucouré. Addressing the children directly, she added "we also came to congratulate your supporting co-workers, your mothers and your aunts for the beautiful work they are doing in your education". She also thanked Ms. Trierweiler for her commitment to improving the conditions of life and education of Malian children.
Ms. Valérie Trierweiler praised the Malian and French authorities present and the excellent work performed by the staff of SOS Children's Villages. "I know of 'SOS Villages d'Enfants France' and the vital work the organization does, as a child who grows up without a home and without a mother has little chance of succeeding," said the First Lady of France.
Creating Long Lasting Memories
An SOS Mother at the event with the First Ladies.
All of the children were thrilled by the opportunity to meet and talk with the two first ladies. As ten-year-old Maïmouna explained, "They have helped us a lot. And seeing these important personalities has inspired me greatly and given me more motivation to study and become important one day too. I would like to thank them and ask them to speak on our behalf, so that other people also love SOS."
Mr. Mallé Cissé, the director of SOS Children's Village Sanankoroba, was equally thankful for the special visit. "Every human being needs someone to look up to. This visit has enabled the children to dream big, and the First Ladies' commitments and motivation were really noticeable. I can only thank them for their visit and it will remain a memorable one. It was the first time a European first lady came to visit SOS Children's Village Mali!"
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