Imagine a world where you could buy a looking glass, and with this you could bare witness to a more technologically advanced civilisation, and you could interact and even speak to people who exist in a world far more advanced than your own. A world where people didn’t die from disease, extreme heat, drought and famine, a world where people had human rights you’d never heard of. Now imagine that every day you are bombarded by the perversions of this advanced world, dangling in front of you day after day as you watch none of these rights and riches ever reach your shores. Imagine a world where you are the garbage dump to all other worlds, falling victim to a climate you never disrupted. A world where vast swaths of your lands were drilled, mined and stolen from under your feet. A world where those from the other worlds could visit you but you could not do the same. Imagine a world where giving to others meant going without yourself. A world where choice meant sacrifice and sacrifice meant life or death. But now imagine that even though you were to see this world through your own eyes, that it was still out of your reach, cut off from you by invisible walls. Worse, that you knew your chances of joining this world were like winning the lottery. Now finally imagine, the reason it was out of your reach was due to a vast inequality for riches that seemed to blanket all worlds except your own, for due to human greed, you and your people were forgotten half a centry ago. Now I don’t want you to imagine, now I want to you know this is real, because for most, this is what it’s like to live in Africa. This is one story from Africa and this one is Fousseny's.
As the head of the FridaysForFuture movement in Bamako, Mali West Africa and a strong environmental activist, Fousseny Traore is a hard working forward thinking and diplomatic individual who consistently works hard for change. He organises and runs every FridaysForFuture climate rally. He consistently protests for the injustice caused by climate inaction, not only for Mali but Africa and the world over, standing up for the generations of tomorrow. Underneath all of that you might be tempted to think he had the same opportunities afforded to him as we do ourselves but Africa is the greatest victim to these injustices so it couldn’t be further from the truth. Fousseny is a young man with very few opportunities presented to him with very little resources at his disposal, and very little money. Like most Malians Fousseny does not work, does not have a regular income and is severely impoverished. He is surrounded by members of his community that are starving, losing livestock to intense heat and drought, struggling to access clean water, food, health care and dignified housing.
I first met Fousseny Traore after he learned I was an ecological scientist from Australia planning to centre my PhD around the management and control of malaria. Fousseny’s passionate response and subsequent reaching out to me would be what I would ultimately recognise as one of the most important and influential conversations of my life. Through every barrier and every difference, here was this exceptional human being full of empathy and compassion- giving back even when he had so little to give. As Fousseny was typing his messages to me, affectionately referring to me as his sister, all around him are crises Western society has never known. Due to the grips of a sustained perpetual economic crisis, brought on by war, political upheaval and climate change; very few Malians are able stand up for their individual human rights, let alone have the dignity to protest climate injustice!
Social media is Fousseny’s only connection to the outside world. In the grips of crises, images posted on social media depict malnourished men, women and children holding signs in protest for climate justice. Their hopes and futures pinning on their ability to be heard above the noise of Western societies ‘selfies’ and the pseudo scientific dribble, that denies their struggles entirely. Further still I would learn that foreign aid and NGO’s make little impact to their situations as many of these bodies are now being accused of withholding important resources in favour of lining their pockets with obscene amounts of money. Worse still, few Malians even have a bank account so unlike westerners even if they wanted to beg for support and start a fundraising campaign, no such autonomy is afforded to them.
Even after sharing all his hardships with me, Fousseny had no expectations from me. Like all Malians who depend on the next rainfall for their lively hood, Fousseny is not only a victim of environmental catastrophes brought on by climate change but also corporate capitalist greed. He was unware that modern technology can give opportunities we in the West turn to in times of need. So within a few days of knowing him I did not hesitate to send him life saving funding for himself and those in desperate need. I was shocked at how instantly I was able send him money via Western Union, though naturally my contributions were not enough and certainly not enough to give Fousseny the opportunities he deserved. But before long I had worked out that what he needed first and foremost was a working bank account and debit card. By simply sending a total of just $60.00 AUD I was able to give Fousseny something no other person or organisation had done before and ultimately give him the key to the autonomy he deserves.
Had I not replied that day I would never have learned of the extent of the hopelessness and inequality he and the people of Mali, West Africa face every day. While people in the West fight for a green energy future, impoverished Malians are fighting for basic human rights whilst climate change claws at their feet. Malians have nothing to lose, for them there is no such thing as ‘switching to renewables’ there is only ‘coming into the 21st century’ via the development and construction of renewable energy systems. BUT… their efforts too are stifled by Western greed, corruption and the continued burning of fossil fuels! So like all of us who are fighting for change, Fousseny deserves to make his voice heard on the global stage.
Fousseny has already created waves in his community. Now garnering the attention from crowds in Bamako with more than 1000 people attending these climate rallies. Foussenys efforts also extend to setting up team of locals to help ecological restoration efforts, working tirelessly to implement real world solutions to combat climate change in Africa.
By donating directly to Fousseny it will allow him and his team to:
- Action real change through reforestation helping to restore ecosystem integrity, improving access to ground water and shade for Malians and for livestock
- Clean up plastic pollution from storm drains and gutters and the surrounding environment as well as, raise awareness and educate Malians about the use of plastics and the harm it causes to the environment
- Provide assistance to farmers for drought resistant solutions as well as educate them on sustainable agricultural practices
- Buy adequate tools to continue with his ecological restoration efforts
- Provide food and water to the poorest people in his community and improve living conditions by consulting with relevant bodies to organise medicine and health care
In the long term he hopes to eventually open up his own solar powered office, with a sturdy internet connection, and a computer where he can meet with relevant personnel who will further assist with his and his team’s efforts, especially where it concerns providing green energy and sustainable infrastructure for education and healthcare to the wider community.
The times of relying solely on charitable organisations are over. I believe Fousseny deserves to be afforded the same dignity that all personalised fundraising campaigns bring. So by giving to this campaign you are giving direct to Fousseny, there is no middle man, no charity and no cuts, just Fousseny, his campaign and every person he can reach. So by making a donation through this channel these funds are going to none other than Foussney. He doesn’t want much, he only wants the same as you and I, he wants CLIMATE JUSTICE for Mali, for Africa and the world over.So if you do just one thing today please make it a donation to Fousseny Traore head of the FridaysForFuture movement in Bamako Mali West Africa. Even just $1.00 from any Western currency will allow Fousseny and his community the dignity to stand up and fight for real change, just like the rest of us! Fousseny is the voice of Mali you have never heard of. So please help my African brother Fousseny today!