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A MINUSMA Exhibition Honors Resilient Malian Women

The Medina Art Gallery in Bamako is currently showcasing an exhibition of photographs entitled “Resilient Women” that celebrates the bravery and resilience of women in Mali. The exhibition was launched on March 7th as a prelude to International Women's Day. It features 30 portraits of women from various parts of Mali, including Menaka, Timbuktu, Mopti, Kidal, Gao, and Bamako. The exhibition aims to showcase the daily struggles of Malian women to meet the basic needs of their families, particularly their children. At the inauguration, Ms. Myriam DESSABLES, MINUSMA Director for Public information, explained that the exhibition aims to go beyond just showing the faces of these women, but instead emphasizes their daily struggles to provide for their families even in the face of violence.

The exhibition features the work of Harandane DICKO, MINUSMA's official photographer, who captured the essence of the theme chosen by Mali for International Women's Day: “Women: Essential Actors for Peace, Security, Social Cohesion, and Reconciliation in Mali.” Through his incredible lens, DICKO “tells the stories of these women - their joys, sorrows, moments of despair, and triumphs. The exhibition showcases the women's remarkable courage and strength, and their unwavering determination to provide for their families and communities”, said the MINUSMA spokesperson. The author of the exhibition highlights both the beauty and struggles that these women face. His work offers a glimpse into their lives, showing the inspiring stories of strong, determined women who are working hard to make a difference in their families and communities like Fatimata Walet HOUSSEINI from Menaka town. This fearless grandmother, soon in her seventies, has been making leather tents for the past 40 years. It is a painstaking and harsh work but allowed her to meet her needs and those of her family, “despite the arrival on the market of foreign tents made of plastic or fabric”. For Fatima, peace is “an absolute necessity. We have suffered too much from this situation of uncertainty that does not predict a better tomorrow for the moment. I call on the authorities, the armed movements and all the parties involved in the crisis to find a long-lasting solution.”

The exhibition seeks to honor Malian women and their contribution to society. Myriam DESSABLES acknowledged that these “women are heroes of our time and deserve to be recognized for their resilience and strength. They serve as an inspiration to young women and men alike in Mali, and their stories are a testament to the enduring spirit of the Malian women”. This initiative, led by MINUSMA on the eve of International Women's Day, highlights the importance of investing in education and empowering women to become leaders in their communities. This is Koïrokoye Abiya CISSÉ from Timbuktu secret yearning. Despite the reluctance of the in-laws Koïrokoye set up her haberdashery shop which ensures her financial independence of which she is proud. She hopes “to see more women dare and become entrepreneurs.”

Visitors to the exhibition can gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by Malian women and the progress that has been made in promoting gender equality. It is a reminder that even in the face of adversity, people can come together and create positive change.

Throughout March 2023 the “Resilient Women” photo exhibition will serve as a powerful reminder of the struggles and triumphs of Malian women, and their vital contribution to society. It is a celebration of their courage, resilience, and modern vision for their families and children. The exhibition sheds light on the challenges faced by Malian women in achieving gender equality. It also highlights the crucial role of women in shaping their communities and driving change. It serves as an inspiration to all those who are committed to promoting gender equality and women's rights.