Here are two personal stories from Gougaram and Iferoune about how the RAIN Mentoring and Scholarship are changing lives.
My name is Ahmed Illias. I am a member of the parent committee at the Iferouāne elementary school. Before the RAIN Mentoring and Scholarship Program, our school had difficulties with student attendance. Twenty percent of students were regularly absent due to sickness, or because illiterate parents did not regard schooling as a priority.
Today, with the RAIN mentoring and scholarship program, the community is aware of the importance of education, and sick students are immediately brought to the health clinic for treatment. We’ve seen attendance rise to 95%, and can testify that this success is a direct result of the support of the mentors. The added value of learning practical skills attracts students and parents alike, because it prepares them for the future with the desire to have a trade, and to take part in the development of our country.
On behalf our community, and particularly our students, I would like to thank RAIN and the individuals who support RAIN.
My name is Fatimata Rhissa. I am the mother of Amina Souleymane, a student at the Gougaram school. She is my only child and all I have in the world. I am divorced, and my former husband left the country some years ago to find work. I engage in small income generating activities to provide for our needs, and those of my parents. I offer plait braiding in downtown Arlit to many visitors who travel near our encampment. But with the conflict and the displacement that comes with it, my work has not been generating income. We have suffered much hardship.
Before the mentoring program came to our community, I did not want my daughter to attend school. I thought she should be at home to help me with domestic tasks and to keep our goats. After meetings with the RAIN mentors, I become more sensitized to the importance of bringing my daughter to school instead of having her stay at home. With the practical skills she has been learning, I now have confidence in my daughter, who is already starting to embroider. I can say that my daughter is thankful for the skills training and the counsel of the mentors, who now have a primary role in preparing her for the future.
RAIN Mentor Health Education Training Underway!
By Ibrahim (Michel) BoubacarDirector of Programs, RAIN Niger
On November 15, 2010, I found myself, along with RAIN Program Assistant, Mohamoud Mouta, on a rough and dusty journey to Gougaram and Iferouane – villages in the Air Mountains of northern Niger. Our mission: to launch the new Health Education Training Program with the mentors in our Girls Mentoring and Scholarship Program, an initiative possible by the Izumi Foundation, and of course, supporters like you!
First Stop: Gougaram. Ten new women mentors were recruited in Gougaram to recognize Niger’s most common and serious childhood diseases in their early phases and refer the children to health care. They will also educate families and community members about the prevention and treatment of these diseases. The mentors learned of the importance of this new program and its goals of treatment and prevention of these dangerous maladies.
During the training, the mentors shared their current ideas about hygiene and related subjects. Mentors were taught about diseases such as meningitis, diarrhea, malaria, pneumonia, and measles, in concrete and precise terms. They learned the causes, symptoms, means of transmission, and methods of prevention.
Next Stop: Iferouāne. Ten women mentors were selected to participate in the program in Iferouane, all of whom have collaborated with RAIN in previous years. Two of the mentors also volunteered to serve on the Management Board. Much like the process in Gougaram, the trainer spoke to the mentors about different health issues in the area, especially the principal diseases the program wishes to prevent.
As always, I am amazed by the willingness, energy and enthusiasm of our mentors. These women already volunteer much time and effort in their mentoring roles to students, and now are investing even more time and effort to be able to offer such a valuable service to their students as well as to their communities.
The new school year is just underway in Niger, and we are excited to see how the mentors apply their newfound health knowledge. I hope to see concrete changes in children’s health by the end of the year! RAIN communities improve as a direct result of all their own hard work!
I’ll keep you posted.
Dear Global Giving Friends,
RAIN is excited to announce a new facet to our Girls Scholarship and Mentoring Program! This year, our Niger mentors will become an important force in educating communities about health, recognizing common disease symptoms, and referring children to health care professionals.
The principle objective for our new Health Education program is to protect our partner communities from preventable diseases, the leading causes of death in Niger, including meningitis, diarrhea, malaria, pneumonia, and measles. Children under the age of five are particularly at risk of contracting these diseases, often transmitted by unsafe water and poor sanitation.
Our mentoring program offers a wonderful opportunity to address this issue. Much information is exchanged between girls and their families with the trusted mentors, why not train mentors to also provide health education?
RAIN will be expanding the medical training of mentors, resulting in their increased confidence, empowerment, and use of improved health practices - knowledge they will share with their communities.
After training, each mentor will be responsible for referring children for treatment of simple medical problems. In addition to the training, RAIN will supply the medicines and treatment plans.
By offering medical first aid, symptom awareness for illness, simple medical kits, and access to health professionals, RAIN expects to substantially improve the health of children and adults alike in our partner communities. The students in our Mentoring and Scholarship Program will not only benefit from support, guidance, advocacy and skills training, but will now receive vital health education and medical treatment. When you support RAIN's Scholarship and Mentoring Program, you are ensuring the well being of these girls in every aspect of their lives, while further increasing the knowledge and skills of their volunteer mentors.
We at RAIN are eager to share photos and stories as mentors begin their training process and put their new health and hygeine knowlege into action. Stay tuned!
Mari Jasmin Clotaire, a key mentor for the Rain for the Sahel and Sahara (RAIN) Girls’ Mentoring and Scholarship Program will be visiting New Hampshire from June 13th - 28th. During her stay, Clotaire will be the special guest for RAIN’s 2010 Annual Event, Daughters of the Desert, held on June 25th at Three Rivers Farm in Dover. This will be a rare and unique opportunity for Seacoast residents to learn firsthand more about the important work Mari and many other women are doing with RAIN to support girls’ education in Niger.
Mari Jasmin, along with her fellow mentors, work to help Tuareg girls age 9-16 succeed in school, convincing parents and teachers about the importance of their education. In the six years since the program began, more than 500 girls have been performing better and staying in school longer, and more than 80 women have become mentors. It has been a truly touching and productive relationship for both the girls and women.
RAIN is excited to welcome Mari, who looks forward to the opportunity to meet some of RAIN's supporters and friends who make the mentoring program a reality. This is her first time in the U.S., and she will return to Niger with many heartening stories to her fellow mentors and students about the outpouring of support from their American partners.
On June 16th, Global Giving will match every donation by 50%. Make your contribution count even more for Mari Jasmin and for the girls who benefit every day from their wonderful mentors!
Women mentors who counsel girls and help them to succeed in school are a vital part of RAIN’s education programs. The women encourage girls, teach them about health and hygiene, and advocate for them with their families and teachers.
This program has been so successful that we seek to introduce it in schools across Niger. During this 2009—2010 school year we’ve brought mentoring to ten new schools.
There are many schools in Niger, and it takes twelve years for a child to complete high school —- this program over the coming years would grow prohibitively expensive.
Gardens produce a product; it’s easy to see that they could sustain themselves and produce profits for schools. But how do education programs become sustainable?
When posed with this question, our mentors responded that with RAIN’s help, they would run businesses. The profits would provide them with payment for their mentoring services, as well as pay for the materials they use in traditional skills classes.
This year, RAIN began our pilot program in mentor husbandry. The mentors of Arlit will keep a herd of sheep to support their mentoring program. RAIN is providing a starter herd and bringing in a veterinarian to teach the women about animal nutrition and health.
By teaching new agricultural skills along with improved techniques to preserve a threatened herding livelihood, RAIN is bringing long term food security to thousands, while incorporating another direct means of support for the mentors and the girls in our Mentoring Program.
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