The experts

Tamba Traore

Teacher / Village Leader

Tamba Traore is Northern Country Director for African Sky, a non-profit organization dedicated to building enduring friendships between people and communities in Mali and the United States. Traore and his family lives in Markala, Mali near the historically significant city of Segou. In Markala Tamba works as an English teacher for the community high school, and his students and colleagues know him as an exceptional educator with a heart of gold.

For years Tamba has generously shared his active mentoring and modest financial resources with students and community members who regularly show up at his doorstep when they find themselves in difficult times. Tamba explains that he shares whatever resources he has because of an early experience in his teaching career; he observed how one of his most promising female students plunged into a downward spiral just before her career-determining exit exams. As the student’s academic performance exponentially deteriorated, Tamba visited the student and her family at home and he learned that she was not only suffering from a debilitating health crisis, but her family’s desperate economic situation had made another turn for the worse. Without hesitation, Tamba took his student to a regional health clinic, ensured she received good medical attention, purchased expensive medications, and provided funds to help keep the student and her family fed. Within a week, the student’s schoolwork started improving and she eventually passed her final school exams (which determined her future academic and professional opportunities) and has become a local success story, which still brings tears of joy to Tamba’s eyes. From that day forward Tamba has actively found creative ways to engage and support people and families in Markala who, with a little help, can pay his gift forward to others.

In recent years, Tamba has worked tirelessly as an advocate, mentor, and financial support of several amazing community groups that make Markala a extraordinary case study in home-grown community development. Besides his immediate and impromptu assistance to anyone who shows up at his doorstep, Tamba has transformed hundreds of lives through his work with Jigiya (a group of self-advocating Malians with disabilities who provide consultations, emergency funding, and micro-loans for Markala citizens with physical and developmental disabilities) and ABEF (a women’s organization dedicated to providing economic opportunities and entrepreneurial mentoring for women seeking to improve the financial well being of their families and community). Because of his limitless generosity and his passionate service as an unpaid and self-funded community development leadership, AfricanSky.Org was grateful when Tamba agreed in 2008 to join the African Sky family as its Northern Region Country Director.