TA WEEK-LONG celebration of Hay-on-Wye’s twin city Timbuktu aims to let raise funds to combat malnutrition in the Malian city, and let its residents know they are “in our thoughts”, said its organiser.

Kicking off on Malian Independence Day on September 22, the town will be transformed for the second year by Timbuktu-themed window displays.

Malian Consul Mark Saade will visit the town on September 26, explaining more about the problems facing the West African nation.

That evening The Globe theatre will host a film-night, screening a movie about music and human rights in the region, served up alongside some African curries.

Sandra Skinner, Hay2Timbuktu’s chair, said: “We hope that an annual celebration of Mali Independence Day will not only raise much needed money to support our education and health projects, but will also demonstrate to the people of Timbuktu that they are in our thoughts.”

Alongside issues around malnutrition, the city is facing many development challenges including education and sanitation.

Last year teachers and midwives from Timbuktu visited Hay as part of the Independence Day celebrations, and earlier this year street collections during the Hay Festival raised almost £400 to support education projects.

The charity Hay2Timbuktu supports a number of education and maternal health projects in Timbuktu.

These include a ‘girls in school’ fund, which improves literacy levels and encourages girls to start a family later, thereby reducing rates of maternal death. The maternal health project provides training, medicines and a motorbike ambulance to transport women to clinics.

If you want to get involved be creating a window display, Ms Skinner suggested using maps, props or colours from Malian flag, and Mr Saade will be judging the entries when he visits.

For more information on the charity’s work visit: www.hay2timbuktu.org.uk.