The following comes from Lindsay Ryan, a founding member of Mali Health, as part of Mali Health’s 10th anniversary celebration.

Back in 2006, Mali Health was just an idea – one inspired by the vibrant and resilient community members of Sikoro and the health challenges they faced and articulated with often painful insight. What we all shared then, Malians and Americans alike, was a love for the place and a sense of urgency over the terrible toll of preventable disease, especially among children and mothers.

It turns out that common values and passion can get you through a lot. ┬áBack then, it was the sheer challenge of starting programs from the ground up – from matters as small as registering an NGO to those as large as problem-solving how to create a democratic and representative community health action group. Today, the hurdles are those involved in running a large and sustainable organization, one that even weathered and played a pivotal role during the Ebola crisis. I never could have imagined back then how far Mali Health would have come today, both in the extent of its reach and the effectiveness and evolution of its programs. I’m proud to have watched its birth – but I’m much, much prouder of the remarkable leaders and residents of Sikoro who have made Mali Health into all that it is now, ten years later.