By Ari Johnson

During the 22 years that Rosali has called Yirimadjo her home, people would come to her for help, and all she could do was to listen to their sad stories. She felt like she was stuck with her hands tied behind her back, because she did not have the resources to address the suffering around her.

Today, Rosali no longer has her hands tied, thanks to Project Muso, a PIH-supported organization that works to bring health care to the poor in Yirimadjo, a community of slums on the outskirts of the city of Bamako in the West African country of Mali.

She enrolled in Project Muso’s Education Program, where she graduated at the top of her class. She then went on to train as a community health worker. In this role, she now tests and treats children in her community for malaria, provides counseling and support to her neighbors, and works to ensure that everyone in her community has access to health care. She has the skills and resources to bring happy endings to sad stories she hears.

One such story is that of 4-year-old Amadou. During one of her daily outreach rounds, Rosali visited a family in her neighborhood and discovered that little Amadou had developed a fever two days before and had become very ill. The boy’s family had not sought care because they did not have the money to pay for health services. Amadou’s father, who had formerly worked at the mayor’s office, had been injured and permanently disabled in a car accident, leaving him unable to work.

Rosalie saw signs of severe malaria in the little boy. She quickly brought him to the health center supported by Project Muso for urgent care, where he was treated for free. She also encouraged the family to seek early treatment for malaria in the future, explaining that this was both for their safety and to protect other community members from being infected.

Recently, little Amadou came down with another high fever. This time, Amadou’s mother brought him to Rosali within the first few hours, and Rosali quickly accompanied him for treatment at the health center. Amadou was able to receive treatment early, before his malaria infection progressed to advanced stages, and he quickly recovered.

Rosali also helped Amadou’s family obtain a bed net and explained how to effectively use the net to protect the boy from malaria-carrying mosquitoes—potentially preventing future sickness.

Today, Amadou is healthy and attends kindergarten, and Rosali continues her daily rounds, reaching out to bring access to healthcare to her neighbors, and ensuring that there are fewer sad stories and more happy endings in her community.

Project Muso is currently facing an urgent cash flow crisis. Learn more and find out how you can help.

Ari Johnson is the co-executive director and co-founder of Project Muso.