Translation of her speech
Ladies and gentlemen,
According to ancient popular sayings in Mali "He who takes care of someone else's child, spares his own descent from harm".
The protection and education of children has a place right in the heart of the culture of Mali, a country of which I'm discovering the values : most of all dignity, generosity and hospitality.
Education is a priority of the cooperation between Mali and Belgium.
Education lies in the heart of human development and is a crucial element in fighting poverty.
That's why I'm very happy to be able to lay the first stone of the Professional Institute of Bankass today.
The laying of a first stone is a moving moment because it announces hope and future.
Every child has the right to receive a basic education of good quality.
Various times I have emphasized my personal interest in this topic during this visit to Mali.
I would like to seize this opportunity to express my admiration for the positive action of this country and the considerable progress that education has made here.
Of course, these good results mustn't make us blind for the persistence of the gap that still exists between different regions in Mali and the very big difference in education for boys and girls. I give extra special attention to education for girls. Because once they're grown up, an educated girl will contribute to society, to development and to the well being of her own children, her family and her community.
Belgium contributes to the decade program of education, both in fundamental education as in professional and technical education.
It's this kind of formation that the Professional Institute of Bankass will offer. I'm thrilled that Mali wants to offer the posibilty of access to the same kinds of schooling to pupils from the inland, as to those who live in the big cities.
The Profesional Institute will insure formations that will lead to jobs, in function of the local economy.
By teaching matters like agriculture and leather-making, this institute could become a motor of economic development in this part of the country.
I would like to make the wish that this Institute opens new perspectives to the entire population of the Bankass region, and most of all to young girls.
I thank you for your warm welcome and I wish this schoolproject all the very best.