Relief for Mali

malian refugees

They fled their homes, driven out by violence, ethnic tensions and rebellion.

Since January 2012, more than 15,000 men, women and children from the war-torn West African nation of Mali have poured into refugee camps in neighboring Niger. The overburdened camps lack the proper amount of clean water, food, shelter, health and hygiene services.

Relief International ( is working to make their lives better by providing goats to improve the food security of Malian refugee families, training and start-up grants to expand the revenue-generating abilities of Malian women in local markets, as well as to build proper healthcare facilities and provide medicine and hygiene supplies.

You can help better the lives of these families by going out and having a fun night on the town. It’s that simple.

On Saturday April 6 at 6 p.m. a concert and reception to benefit Malian refugees will be held at Mill No. 5 (250 Jackson St., Lowell). It has been organized by Rev. Lisa Durkee, the pastor of the First Congregational Church in West Brookfield.

Musicians include Cheick Hamala Diabate and his band, Balla Kouyate and Paddy Keenan. Visit their websites at;; and

Al-Maamoun Keita, Ambassador from Mali to the United States will be in attendance.

All proceeds from this event benefit the work of Relief International.

A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $100, and include an opening reception, entry into a raffle, and reserved concert seating.  Guests will also have the opportunity to view the trailer for Essakane Film: The story of the most remote music festival in the world, which introduces us to the most remote music festival, in Timbuktu, Mali.  The director and producers of the film will be in attendance this evening.

$50 tickets include a raffle entry and General Admission to the concert; $25 tickets are for General Admission to the concert [Raffles to include copies of Essakane Film, as well as a documentary made about Paddy Keenan’s time in Mali when he played Le Festival au Desert in 2005; Cds of the performers and gift certificates for several local businesses will also be drawn)

Tickets can be purchased here:

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