Mali: Dembélé Mariam Sidibé

It is not right for women to cross their arms and believe their salvation will come from men.

— Dembélé Mariam Sidibé

Born in Kayes in 1965, Madame Dembélé Mariam Sidibé is the director of the Muso Danbé Center situated in the heart of the capital of Kayes, the first administrative region of Mali. Dembélé Mariam Sidibé is married and the mother of six children. She has always had a desire to help those less fortunate than her. Early on, she saw the need to provide trade skills to orphaned and handicapped girls because of the difficulties they face in Malian society.

Madame Dembélé Mariam Sidibé is the founder and director of Muso Danbé, a life-skills center for orphaned and handicapped young girls in Kayes, Mali. Muso Danbé means women’s dignity in Bambara, the predominate local language of Mali. Mariam has always had a desire to help those less fortunate than her. Mariam knew that without marriage or some other means of providing for themselves, these handicapped girls would be forced onto the street as beggars or prostitutes. Although Mali is a poor country, some trades can bring in good money, such as cloth dyeing, tailoring, and cooking. Mariam, a consummate cook and creative artist, started her center in 1998 and soon began to teach these girls how to cook, design and sew clothing, make soap and learn French. The center produces beautiful, high-quality cloth ranging from rich bazin, to colorful batik to traditional mud cloth and indigo. The organisation over which she presides is highly recognized in public because of the interest that it represents for the women of the Kayes region. Mariam is full of appreciation for the people and their performance at her center. She has accumulated a lot of knowledge on women’s activities that she wants to pass on to other interested women who want to do something to increase their economic independence. She never ceases telling her trainees that one is never too old for training, especially when it will generate income.

Muso Danbé Center