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Fatoumata, 10 years old,
first Malian child to receive specialised care in Switzerland

Fatoumata arrived at Geneva international airport from Mali, calm and extremely happy to continue on her “journey towards life”. She has suffered from heart problems since birth and had to drop out of school to move close to a hospital.

The beginning of a new life

Fatoumata lives in a family of 13 children in the Kayes region. She has suffered from heart problems since birth. In order to be closer to a hospital, she had to leave school and move in with her uncle in the Malian capital Bamako. After being spotted by our local team, Fatoumata was flown over to Switzerland for a three-month period of medical care as part of Tdh’s specialised care programme.

Greeted at the airport upon arrival by people from Tdh, Fatoumata was surprised to be able to speak in her mother tongue “Bambara” to one of the team members. Feeling reassured, she explained shyly: "my parents had to stay in Mali with my brothers and sisters. At home, I was enrolled in a Koranic school, but because I was ill I could not go. I am happy that I will soon be healthy again.”

Huddled in her black jumper, far from the warm sun in Bamako, Fatoumata is still sleepy. Curiosity overcomes her sleepiness, though as she travels to her first medical appointment. She observes the passing landscape calmly. In the hospital in Aigle, despite the presence of doctors and nurses, she marvels at the statue of Father Christmas. After the examinations, the child will be operated at the University Hospitals of Geneva and will then recover at the Maison de Massongex.