Sister City since 1991Tempe’s partnership with Timbuktu marks its first with a third-world country and the start of the organization’s large-scale philanthropic humanitarian efforts.
Tell me more about Timbuktu…
- Mali is a nation struggling to survive: with a population of more than 10 million, Mali is considered the fifth poorest nation in the world. Timbuktu alone is home to 55,000 permanent residents and 10,000 refugees.
- While the official language of Timbuktu is French, in Mali, the majority of the population there also speaks a variety of dialects.
- Dubbed the "Athens of West Africa" in the 15th century, historically Timbuktu was known as a place of learning and riches, and to this day, scholars come to study ancient manuscripts. The city, however, lacks basic necessities to educate the youth, including teachers, facilities and school supplies. For this reason, Tempe Sister Cities has over the years donated funds for 8 drinking water wells, an elementary school, school supplies, sewing machines, millet grinder and addition to a Women’s Center. In addition, medical supplies worth over $350,000 were sent as well as 240 wheelchairs.Some of these gains were off-set by the invasion of Islamic rebels who invaded the North of Mali including Timbuktu in 2012. When they were driven out by French forces the following year, they left behind much destruction.Many people lost their livestock and possessions when they were forced to flee from Timbuktu during this period. Now having returned to their homes, these residents are struggling to exist.