Rain for the Sahel and Sahara

Rain for the Sahel and Sahara (RAIN) forges partnerships with nomadic and rural desert peoples of West Africa to realize their ambitions for education and enduring livelihoods with a focus on empowering girls and women with learning and earning.
Jul 7, 2011

New Tailor Joins the Metier Chance Vivre Co-op

Metier Chance Vivre totes
Metier Chance Vivre totes

Exciting news....the “Metier Chance Vivre,” (Chance for Life) Artisan Embroidery Cooperative has begun working with a tailor local to the Agadez region, Aja.  Aja will create the scarves, tote bags, and other sown items for the women to embroider on a separate piece of fabric that is later incorporated in the final product, allowing the members to create more items in a shorter period of time.  Aja has rare experience with western markets, with a good grasp of the standards of work quality as well as fashion ideas. She will be further instructing the women on modern design techniques, combining them with the Wodaabe centuries old embroidery traditions, increasing the value and beauty of their finished products. 

 

Women tailors are very unusual in Niger, it is an area of work most often reserved solely for men. RAIN is proud to now be facilitating the all-women artisan enterprise true to the inspiration of our original vision for the program. 

 

New developments are happening in addition to new products - discussions are underway about the cooperative members to possibly work with a well known designer in Niger.  RAIN staff is also actively seeking out local markets for sale of the co-operative products, as well as facilitating the process for the artisans to become members of Niger’s national alliance of craftswomen. 

 

All these efforts are with the goal of enhancing the co-operatives’ visibility and development as artisans, not only to generate income for themselves and their children’s schools, but towards building new livelihoods, which will continue to benefit their lives and the community for years to come.

 

We continue to be heartened and impressed by these women’s resolve, hard work, and talent......Bravo, Metier Chance Vivre Co-operative!

 

If you have interest in purchasing tote bags or other items from the co-operative, email Julia at julia@rain4sahara.org.

 

 

 

 

Links:

May 27, 2011

Interview with Mrs. Jadatta, Mentor

Mentor Jadatta
Mentor Jadatta

Interview with Mrs. Jadatta, Mentor, Community of Tangoushman

Recently, RAIN Education Coordinator Abdou Amani interviewed some women in the community of Tangoushman to learn about their experiences as mentors in the Mentoring and Scholarship program. The following is an interview with RAIN mentor Jadatta.

Name: Jadatta
Age: 37
Marital Status: Married
Children:  3
Education level: Not literate

RAIN: What motivated you to become a mentor for RAIN?

Jadatta: The RAIN staff and the head of our village explained to us what this program entailed. I understood immediately that the purpose of the program was to help our own children. I am a mother of three children, of which two attend school.

RAIN: Since you have become a mentor, what changes, if any, have you noticed in your life?

Jadatta: I learn something new every day. With each round of the RAIN team in our village, we learn many things, either about the children, or health, or questions relating to the school. That is important. Moreover, I’ve become an asset to my community - before the mentoring program, our children did not regularly attend school and did not practice daily hygiene. This is changing, and I am proud of that.

RAIN: Do you feel that the elimination of illiteracy is important for the mentors?

Jadatta: Yes, of course. The knowledge to read and write is essential, regardless of who you are. If we were without education, it is not because we did not want it, but because we did not have the means to create it.

RAIN: What are your hopes for the children who you are entrusted within the framework of the program?

Jadatta: I hope that they continue their schooling, so that in the future they can grow to be productive individuals for themselves and their community. If our children miss their future, the parents will be the ones to assume responsibility and face the consequences.

RAIN: Are there any conflicts that arise between you and the parents of the students?

Jadatta: There have not been conflicts between us and the parents; this is because we sensitize the parents at the start to our plans for their children. They then can see for themselves what we do, and have the opportunity at any time to engage with their children. If our work was harmful in any way, the children would be the first to express this; however, the children like our company and our councils. As a result, the parents have no reason for objection.

RAIN: How often do you meet with the children who are entrusted to you?

Jadatta: Once a week, every week.

RAIN: Do all the five mentors live in the village of Tangoushman?

Jadatta: Yes. We all were raised in this village, and will remain here for our lifetimes. Every Wednesday, we ask the children to return in the evening so that we can meet. Everyone attends. There are absences only in the event of sickness or disease.

RAIN: What are some challenges you encounter in your mentoring work?

Jadatta: One frequent obstacle is the hour of our meetings with the children, which coincides with our domestic obligations. But we overcome that obstacle and make the sacrifice to always be present. Another challenge is to make food available for the children in the evenings at the school. Some children must travel a few kilometers back to school each evening from home, and at times are fatigued and hungry when they arrive. To address this problem, we are striving to increase the school food supply to offer the children in the evening, in order to ensure full attendance. Another challenge is that certain elderly individuals in the village, who do not yet understand the purpose of education, attempt to discourage parents of the children attending. This problem is presently being addressed by the parent and teacher committee, who plan to organize meetings to increase awareness.

RAIN: What are some of the issues you discuss with the children?

Jadatta: We discuss good health and hygiene, habits of successful students, study guidance, how to behave safely and responsibly, and the importance of respect for others. The school principal guides us with the curriculum, and must be congratulated on working with us tirelessly.

Jadatta and other mentors of Tangoushman
Jadatta and other mentors of Tangoushman
Children of Tangoushman.
Children of Tangoushman.
Students on their long journey back home.
Students on their long journey back home.

Links:

Apr 14, 2011

Solar Ovens Add Value to School Market Gardens

Onion tops are an important staple
Onion tops are an important staple

RAIN's School Market Gardens provide food for students, income for the community and the school, and teach sustainable agriculture.  How else can the garden provide increased benefits to the community? 

The answer: solar ovens.  In the remote regions of Niger where RAIN's partner communities live, electricity is not available, and refrigeration is not a viable option to preserve food.  Traditionally, drying is the preferred method in the Sahara to extend the life of food from times of plenty through more scarcer times.  Solar ovens were created exactly for that purpose, and increase the capacity of a community to store and transport food.

This valuable addition to our School Market Gardens is getting its very first try out in the village of Bonfeba in the Tillaberi region. Bonfeba has worked hard to plant their new garden and dig the communities' first well with RAIN. As the first crops come in, a women's cooperative will begin drying tomatoes, onions and peppers with the new solar oven. Tomatoes are an important staple in the nomadic diet, and along with the peppers and onion tops, fortify sauces for childrens meals and are the basis of many soups. When the first fruit trees come in, fruits such as mangos and papyas will also be dried by the women. 

Once dried, the food can then be stored in jars and either kept for the school or sold in local markets, the funds to be invested back into the community and school. 

We expect this to be a good stride forward towards food security for Bonfeba, and plan to introduce more solar ovens to future partner communities as an integral part of the RAIN School Market Garden program!

Drying is the timeless method of food preservation
Drying is the timeless method of food preservation
Bess meets with community of Bonfeba
Bess meets with community of Bonfeba

Links:

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