Rain for the Sahel and Sahara

Rain for the Sahel and Sahara (RAIN) forges partnerships with underserved 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.
Oct 10, 2014

ALC Girls Find a Mentor in Halima Aboubacar

Halima (2nd from L) with students & founder Bess
Halima (2nd from L) with students & founder Bess

“I would like to be Prime Minister or work for an NGO. I want to help the people in my village and my family and fight against terrible diseases.” - ALC Student Faji Hamid

In Niger, girls rarely progress to the 4th grade and 1 in 3 is married before the age of 15. The girls RAIN works with face the additional challenge presented by their remote desert location. Only 2% of girls in Niger make it to secondary school. A good education, like rain, is scarce here — especially for girls. And finding a secure and supportive place to live to persue that education is even scarcer.

New opportunity for nomadic students is found at the Agadez Learning Center – a safe and nurturing home away from home - a place to live, study, tuition, meals, and tutoring to support them through secondary school - a truly unique opportunity for Niger's children to break free of the cycle of poverty. As RAIN expands the center, we expect to set a new precedent in Niger. As girls in our mentoring programs graduate from primary school, they will have an option to continue their studies they would otherwise not have. School is a monumental commitment for desert nomadic kids and their families. Going to class means they aren’t able to help their parents forge a living in the dusty pastureland south of the Sahara. Despite the sacrifices, this fall will find these girls attending school with smiles on their faces. Somehow, they know it’s worth it. They know that each additional year in school brings them closer to a better life: More options. Skills to share back home. Better health. Greater independence. The possibility to be one of the lucky few in Niger to go on to high school, or even college.

Mentoring continues at the ALC

RAIN's mentoring program is gaining momentum at the Learning Center. The girls lean on RAIN staff member Halima Aboubacar as a mentor and role model throughout the school year. Meeting with the girls twice a week, Halima instructs and guides in a firm but gentle style. With her guidance, students delegate responsibilities for a variety of posts and chores, and lead informal peer to peer tutoring sessions. With her help, the average success rate of ALC students in the 2014 school year was twice as high as their peers, demonstrating that with the right support, rural students - despite many challenges - can outperform urban students. Those graduating meet with Halima in conjunction with school staff to assist in plans for high school and specialty schools offering degrees in public health, engineering, agriculture and education. In 2015, RAIN plans to extend our mentoring program, drawing from a local women artisan co-operative, to support the growing number of girls at the Learning Center. 

This fall, 12 students are returning,  joined by 13 girls from RAIN mentoring programs beginning their secondary school journey. Remote northern communities such as Gougaram, Tadek, Tchinfiniten, Soulefet, and Tchintelouste will see a new generation of girls going further in their education than ever before. A special effort is being made to seek out and recruit Wodaabe students in these communities, who are the least represented in Niger schools. 

School starts in a few weeks. Because of friends like you, new opportunity is in reach for these desert children of hardship and hope.

On October 15th, GlobalGiving will match your donation to our mentoring program that keeps at-risk rural and nomadic girls succeeding in school by 30%! Matching begins at 9:00 am EDT and lasts until funds run out or 11:59 pm EDT.

Let's do this! Mark your calendar for October 15th and be sure to spread the word...together we can keep more girls in school to be the next generation of students at the Agadez Learning Center.

                                        ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It's not often that girls in rural Niger are asked about their lives and hopes for the future. RAIN supplied questionairres to the students at the ALC to get to know them better and let them know that their ideas count. Below is a sample from a Wodaabe student.

Dafada Hadiza
Age: 14  Grade: 5

What are common illnesses in your village? Malaria, menengitis, measles, conjunctivitis, fever, back illness.
What is the most difficult part of your life? Life is expensive. We do not take advantage of our culture.
What work did you do as a child? Getting wood and drawing water by mule back. Caring for young goats.
What games did you prefer as a child? Galloping on mule back, playing with clay and a doll, a game called gollel.
What work do you do during your vacations? Helping mother pound millet, bringing wood, herding the flock to pasture, fetching water, embroidering.
What are the recreational activities you prefer? Dancing with my friends, embroidery.
What profession would you like to do when you are an adult? To be a nurse, to help care for the sick.

Tamamounte, Fatima & Dafada enjoying the questions
Tamamounte, Fatima & Dafada enjoying the questions
Faji Hamid
Faji Hamid
Dafada Hadiza
Dafada Hadiza

Links:

Aug 26, 2014

RAIN Artisans Learn New Products!

Illia working on handbags with artisans.
Illia working on handbags with artisans.

The 16 Tuareg women who make up the Albaye leather cooperative in Agadez have recently teamed up with other women artisans in Ingall who primarily work in straw. This collaboration has led to beautiful leather & straw tote bags, a product not possible for these two groups on their own. 

The collaboration continues with new products this summer with some help from a true master artisan - Illiah Addoh, Director of Artisans at the National Museum in Niamey. Organized by Albaye co-op president Oumma Amma, Three artisans from the Ingall straw cooperative joined the 16 members of Albaye to learn ways to improve their craft and make new items. 

We're proud to share two new products from this learning collaboration - straw woven platters and leather handbags.
We are truly excited by the high quality of these items as well as their stunning beauty - the traditional Tuareg patterns taking on a new modern look in completely different ways. 

The tote bags, hand bags and platters will be available for sale on our online nomadic marketplace in the very near future - check back to get yours! 

A very warm "thank you" to our supporters from RAIN staff and our artisan partners as they develop their skills and expand their livelihoods.

Albaye co-op President Oumma
Albaye co-op President Oumma
Straw & Leather Tote
Straw & Leather Tote
Straw Platters
Straw Platters
Albaye Draw String Purse
Albaye Draw String Purse

Links:

Jul 16, 2014

New Mentoring Programs in Nassile and Tirboye

Tirboye school sign
Tirboye school sign

Since expanding to the southern Tillaberi region of Niger in 2009, RAIN has gained many motivated community partners to take part in the widely popular mentoring program. We're happy to share that the communities of Nassile and Tirboye, with your help, are embarking on this journey of education and new opportunity for girls and women alike.

The initial community meetings, recruitment process and training has taken place - the stage is set for the joyful task of empowering girls to succeed.

Nassile's Mentoring Program

The Nassile School serves several surrounding area hamlets, each of which is represented by a mentor. This arrangement serves to unite the greater community around our important education initiative. As in all RAIN mentoring programs, mentors are teaching their students valuable practical skills, including the craft of straw and stalk weaving that is a tradition in the region.

Mentors
Salamatou Bilan    
Zeinabou Djibo        
Mariama Yaya        
Beldo Bodo            
Fatimata Boukari
                                         
Tirboye's Mentoring Program
The women mentors of Tirboye have been helping their students with the hoeing and planting in their new School Market Garden so they may also dedicate enough time to studying for the CM2 exam that ends the primary school cycle.

Mentors
Fosse Talata            
Dafarini Tchoga        
Lamouri Kondjoua        
Ramata Mahamane        
Larba Kampalamba

We look forward to updating you in the very near future as these two mentoring programs bloom to give at-risk girls a leg up in school and in life. None of it is possible without your support - thank you!

P.S. GlobalGiving will match each donation to the Mentoring Program 40% starting 9am EST today! Giving today will mean nearly twice the benefit to at-risk girls in Niger....please share this amazing opportunity with your friends and family.


Tirboye mentors help plant the school garden
Tirboye mentors help plant the school garden
Mentor President Salamatou in a craft workshop
Mentor President Salamatou in a craft workshop
Students of Tirboye studying for exams
Students of Tirboye studying for exams
Tirboye Mentor Ramata Mahamane
Tirboye Mentor Ramata Mahamane
Nassile Mentor Zeinabou Djibo
Nassile Mentor Zeinabou Djibo
Tirboye Mentor Lamouri Kondjoua
Tirboye Mentor Lamouri Kondjoua

Links:

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