Greeks help orphans in Mali

By and

After volunteering at an orphanage in Mali last summer, Ellesse Sorbonne told members of her sorority about the poor conditions for children there.

In response, sorority chapters banded together to raise money for the Mali, Africa, Orphanage Project. All five sororities on Greek Row have collected change, cloth diapers, bottles, pacifiers and blankets for the past two weeks and have raised almost $10,000 in money and supplies so far. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made the primary donation with $7,000 worth of supplies and toys.

“We’re going to continue to raise money till the end of the semester,” said Lauren Christensen, president of the Panhellenic Council.

Greek sorority and fraternity members invited N. Yeah Samaké, an immigrant from Mali, to the U on Monday to discuss the problems children face in Mali.

“The situation is very bad for children,” Samaké said. “Mali is the second poorest country in the world.”

He said that children walk miles everyday to go to school and that the literacy rate is still low. The government doesn’t have enough money to build schools there, he said.

Samaké started the Mali Rising Foundation, a company-sponsored organization that has built five schools in Mali since 2003. The Foundation will help ship the supplies and funds to Mali.

The Foundation also helped Sorbonne and another woman in Utah visit Mali to see the conditions and work with children in orphanages.

“We hosted the trip and helped find host families for the girls to stay with, but these girls gave the gift of themselves when they went there,” Samaké said. “Children in Mali don’t have diapers and kids probably peed on them.”

Samaké gave the students an idea of what Mali is like by showing a slide show as part of his presentation.

“He showed us some of the same things I saw over the summer,” Sorbonne said.

The pictures were of starving children with flies and sores all over their faces, she said. They showed how their clothes were too big and dirty for them to wear.

Abby Ivory, a member of Delta Gamma who went to the event on Monday, said she is glad all the sororities came together to work on the project. The children have nothing right now, but hopefully this will be beneficial and give them something, she said.

“Watching the slide show with pictures showed us the problems there,” Ivory said. “But we’re trying to do something about it.”

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