Without a birth certificate, children in Mali do not have a legal identity and are vulnerable to trafficking, child labour and underage marriage as they do not legally exist and have no proof of their age.
Oumou, 14, is one of them. She is a bright 8th grade student from Timbuktu, however, last year she was asked to leave school in the second term when the school authorities asked her to provide her birth certificate before sitting an exam.
Plan is working to ensure that all children receive this legal document and believes that birth registration is a right for every child. Today, Oumou is no longer afraid to be asked to leave school due to not having a birth certificate.
“Plan officers came into my classroom and identified students who had no birth certificates. Some days later, they came back with our documents. I was very happy to finally see my birth certificate.” Oumou says happily.
She is now able to continue her studies and take her exams, one day dreaming of becoming the Minister of Education.
Number of children Plan has reached in the area so far
Children Plan is targeting to provide birth certificates
Local officials trained on the importance of birth registration