A secessionist rebellion that began in Mali's north early this year, and the ensuing fighting that occurred between the rebel group and the Malian army, produced several hundred thousand internally displaced persons and refugees. The rebellion was eventually hijacked by armed Islamist groups who currently control the north of the country.
A peaceful resolution is looking increasingly unlikely and there is a real possibility of armed intervention. In any case, the refugee situation persists.
I am trying to raise $1,000 for Relief International, an organization that is providing humanitarian support for Malian refugees in Niger. If the campaign is funded, I will teach 100 different people how to draw camels in a 24 hour period in Bamako, Mali. I will document this process and the video will be available to backers of the campaign.
The money raised by this campaign goes directly to the Relief International paypal account. Any amount raised over $1,000 will also go directly to Relief International.
Why Camel Drawing?
For more information on why I believe so strongly in camel drawing, please see the video above. You can also visit my website http://howtodrawcamels.com and http://philintheblank.net. Do not take the camel drawing too seriously, please.
Why Relief International?
Relief International was initially recommended to me by a friend who was familiar with their work. After learning more about their efforts, which are holistic and exhaustive in nature, I spoke directly to a RI representative and was once more encouraged by the organization.
To get a sense for their approach, I recommend reading this PDF report that they released in July:
The money from this campaign is specifically targeted to go to Relief International's support of Malian refugees.
For more information on the situation in Mali...
Quality reporting on Mali has been limited, but there are a number of journalists, analysts and researchers who have been providing valuable information on the situation.
I recommend reading this blog post from journalist Peter Tinti, which explains the hazy reporting situation while offering some key reads that provide a strong background on the current crisis:
I would also recommend following his twitter account (@petertinti) along with the following list of people who provide excellent analysis and reporting in English.
If you speak French, I would also recommend:
These lists are not comprehensive
Help me complete an unprecedented camel drawing mission while supporting humanitarian efforts for Malian refugees. Even if you cannot donate, please consider sharing this campaign with someone (or everyone) that you know.