Niger, like many other African countries, does not have a "reading and writing culture", which makes teaching literacy quite challenging. Most students do not have books in their homes. Many parents also do not know about the resources they could offer or seek out to further their children's education. Differences between the language used as the educational medium and the language spoken at home add to the difficulties of building a reading culture.
Yet, without the ability to read efficiently, children cannot be lifelong learners because they cannot access information and their knowledge quickly becomes obsolete. They cannot cope with the flexibility required in the workplace today. Poor reading ability translates into poor quality learning.
To work on these crucial issues, our association is helping Hampaté Bâ School with teacher training, good learner material and a remedial program in order to implement a literacy and language programme that produces learners who are equipped for high school.
The remedial teacher, Mr Cyril, uses a variety of support materials and techniques to encourage the simultaneous development of the four language skills - reading, writing, speaking and listening in a balanced way.
“I don’t want my students to make peace with mediocrity, I want them to aspire to excellence”, says Mr Cyril and he adds, “I believe improving reading outcomes is improving these students’ life outcomes as well.”
Thanks to your donations, we have been able to fund this specialized teacher, who is meeting the challenge of bringing students up to level, by giving them extra hours of small group tutoring. Many of the students sponsored by our scholarships really need this help, as they came from primary schools with 80 students per class where they learned basically nothing.
We are proud of our actions to help these students learn to read. So many children don’t have access to education and risk being part of another generation of poverty, We WANT to make a difference and we can do it TOGETHER with you. We are deeply grateful for your continued donations, no matter what amount, We are determined to continue our efforts so our students can get an education, to overcome ignorance. This is important. Thanks so much.
Many poor children in Niger never attend school and that is a distressing reality. But what is even more shocking is the fact that many of those who do go to school learn very little. Under the current model of education, half of Niger's total primary school population reaches adolescence without the basic skills needed to lead successful and productive lives. As a consequence, the prognosis for Niger's future economic growth and social development is not very good.
Hampaté Bâ Middle School is striving to address this deep learning crisis by raising teaching standards and improving learning outcomes, so as not to waste the potential of underprivileged Nigerien youth. This is by no means an easy task, but it can be done.
At Hampaté Bâ , the students are not on the receiving end of a monotone recitation geared towards rote learning. Here, they actually understand what they learn.
"Before coming to Hampaté Bâ, I used the word "century" a lot, but I never knew what it meant. Also, I did not know the difference between a country and a continent. Now I do", says proudly Abdou, a 7th grader in the school.
Aminatou, a bright-eyed 13 year old girl, had this to say about learning at Hampaté Bâ : "Before coming to this school, I used to learn all of my lessons by heart without understanding much and my teachers were satisfied with that. Here, the teachers make sure we understand what we recite or what we write. So learning by heart is good, but not enough."
Thanks to your generosity, we can offer quality education to students like Abdou and Aminata who, in primary section, went through 6 years of zero value-added schooling. Now, they are not only in secondary school but learning !
The ultimate aim of our association is to support Hampaté Bâ school in its efforts to equip underprivileged students like Abdou and Aminatou with the numeracy, literacy and wider skills that they need to realize their potential – and that their country, Niger, needs to generate jobs, innovation and economic growth.
Please help us achieve this aim. Your donations really count !! Thank you.
The End of Year Recognition Ceremony at Hampaté Bâ School in Niamey is designed to highlight the outstanding work the students have accomplished in the areas of service, academics, arts, and leadership, while affirming the unique challenges and experiences they share.
Two years ago, Hachimou and Fourera were struggling readers and writers !! And look at them now !!
Throughout the year, the values of curiosity and participation have been the foundation for his success at Hampaté Bâ Middle school. He has been a model student and has developed a real interest in computing skills. Beyond learning, he is a polite and friendly pupil who always has a smile on his face. His enthusiasm rubs off on people around him.
“The treatment at Hampaté Bâ School, in my opinion, is the best that we can get. We study in an environment where we are not scared or humiliated. Because of this, we are able to work well in an encouraging atmosphere. Besides the good learning conditions, I'm also very glad that I can learn computing skills at this school with great tools and special computer classes. Later on, I would like to specialize in computer programming."
Fourera According to her teachers, Fourera has been an absolute pleasure to teach because of her positive attitude and approaching everything she does with joy. She works hard and as a consequence has made enormous progress in all domains since she joined Hampaté Bâ School. Fourera also always has a kind word for all of her classmates. She has been recognized for her progress in arts and her team spirit.
"The Principal and the teachers try to instill certain values in us. One phrase that we constantly hear is : it is all about choice. We must learn to make the right choices. I have chosen to help my family financially and that is why I want to succeed in school."
Groundwork for future leaders
These are only a few examples of the progress being made at Hampate Ba School, thanks to your donations, helping young underprivileged students learn to read and write, to become literate and have the right to a quality education where they WANT to learn. As a result, we are preparing groundwork for them to become responsible citizens and future leaders.
Your donations really count in helping us avoid student dropout and keeping these students in school. We appreciate your continued support. Your contributions will make the difference in a student’s chance to stay in school. Thank you so much !
Reading failure begins early, takes root quickly, and affects students for life.
Two years ago, Sani and Bouba "graduated" from a state primary school barely knowing how to read and write!!
Today, with the help of the remedial program at the Hampaté Bâ Middle School, they are quickly improving their reading and writing skills. Thanks to that push from the school, they are rising to the challenge and gaining more and more confidence in themselves. “My Social Studies teacher says that he sees something in me,” Bouba says. “He often tells me, ‘I know there’s something inside you that wants to fight and succeed.’”
As for Sani, you can tell he is sharp from the way he analyses his difficulties at school. “In primary school, I avoided reading because reading was very frustrating for me. Now, it is easier for me to study because I can read better.”
“Therein lies the most challenging aspect of teaching older students: they cannot read so they do not like to read; and, because they have not read much, their comprehension skills decline and they also become poor spellers and poor writers, " says Mr Hassane Moussa Baro, the school principal.
Your donations help us provide remedial instruction in order to close the gap between poor readers and their grade-level peers as quickly as possible. Reading intervention imparts to secondary students the skills they missed in primary grades and can bring them to grade level in one to two years.
Please contribute and help these students stay in school. Your donation can make the difference of them dropping out or getting up to par.
Help us to help them ! THANK YOU.!
"In Niger, manual work is considered as unprestigious and is frowned upon. But this stigma is changing because Amadou Hampaté Bâ Middle School has made a success of its brand new garden and the students love taking care of it ”, says proudly the director of the school.
Thanks to the well that our association had built for Hampaté Bâ in 2013, the school now has its own garden which grows tomatoes, green peppers and chilies. Everyone was involved from the beginning: the director, the teachers and the students. When they started, there was nothing but sand. Look at it now! The school director says the students are passionate about the garden and that taking care of it is teaching them the notion of responsibility.
"Without proper care and maintenance, the plants could die or the garden could become overgrown. Giving students the responsibility to water and care for the plants they grow instills in them a sense of accountability. Patience is another virtue that students learn through garden participation, as plants do not grow, flower, or fruit overnight." explains the director.
Some of the teaching staff are also involved in this project.
• The home economics teacher advises on nutrition, food hygiene, food preparation and food conservation.
• The biology teacher uses the garden as an observatory.
• The French teacher teaches the names of different fruits and vegetables and their correct spelling.
"Hopefully, in a near future, other teachers too will be able to create meaningful learning experiences for their students as school gardens can be used to teach practically every subject taught in secondary school. I have asked the social studies teacher to use the garden to teach students about other cultures and how they grow their food and what they eat, as well as where our own food comes from", adds the director.
Thus, thanks to your generous donations we were able to start cultivating both the garden and the students at the Hampaté Bâ Middle School.
Help us keep this exciting project going. Your continued donations can make this dream become more and more a reality. We need more contributions to plant more and nourish new ideas.
With our humble thanks,
Les Amis de Hampaté Bâ Team
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