Man uses lottery winnings to support schools in his native country


Souleymane Sana recently won $100,000 playing a scratch-off game by the North Carolina lottery. The New Bern, North Carolina, resident said he is going to use the winnings to support schools in his native country of Mali.

“I’m going to keep doing my best to help build more classrooms for the children in Mali,” he said in a press release. “That is the thing that makes me really happy.”

Sana is the director of Kono Gnaga, an organization that says it provides assistance for several impoverished schools. In addition to helping to rehabilitate several classrooms, it also provides dance classes with local artists.

“I love to dance and I want to teach the children in Mali to love it, too,” he said. “If you talk about culture and you talk about education, they both go together. Some of the money is going to be used to start building a dance center there.”

He said providing assistance for schools back home was what motivated him to buy a lottery ticket.

“This was my dream,” Sana said. “That was one of the main reasons I bought that scratch ticket was to be able to keep helping them.”

Sana also tours the U.S., demonstrating traditional African dance at various events.

The education system in Mali has historically struggled but improved in recent years. According to 2018 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization data, Mali has a literacy rate of 35%, which is up from 10% in 1976 and 24% in 2003.

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