A 40 year old school teacher, Mr Abdourahmane, at Hampaté Bâ Middle School in Niamey, is really making a difference. He has been able to ignite a spark of interest in previously discouraged learners who otherwise would have continued to struggle with even the most basic literacy skills.
In Niger, teaching children to read and write is a significant challenge. For the majority of students, French is their third or even fourth language. Often, they are being taught by teachers who lack the skills and resources to create inspiring or creative opportunities for students to interact with written texts.
Amadou was getting D's and F's in most of his school subjects. Like other low skilled readers, he was very self conscious of his reading ability and tried to hide his poor reading skills. But very quickly, his teachers realized that, even though this shy young boy was in sixth grade, he could barely read or write. He was thus referred to the special remedial sessions taught by Mr Abdourahmane.
"This program is giving Amadou the opportunity to significantly improve his reading skills. He has grown in confidence", says Mr Abdourahmane, and his results have improved not only in French, but also in all of the other subjects. If students cannot read, they cannot be independent learners. That is why I take my work so seriously."
Without this remedial program, Amadou would still be struggling with a strong chance of failing the 6th grade. And because of this, his parents would most likely have taken him out of school.
Your donations are important to us and are a big help to these worthy students. Your generosity enables us to fund special courses for students like Amadou and keep them in school by improving their results and bringing them up to level. By teaching them to read and write, we avoid student drop-out. Thank you for helping us to help these students to get educated, improve their future and contribute to Niger as a whole.
Testimony made by one of these smiling children’s father who shows his amazed gratitude!
“My concerns for my children are, in order: feeding them, taking care of their health and then finding the means to send them to school. I have 12 children. Ten are grown up, and two are babies. Currently five of them are in school. We tighten our belts and pay little by little. Most of my oldest children ended up dropping out of school. They were performing poorly so they didn’t want to continue. The Hampate Ba School is different: it does not get rid of those who perform poorly. They get extra hours with good teachers. That is why my children are progressing well in this school. They might even finish it! And if they do finish it, they will either continue their education or get a job that will allow them to take care of themselves and to help us. But I can also see the immediate benefits of being in this school. For example, because my children can read, they can sort out all of my family papers like birth certificates. And, my daughter tells me what is good for us to eat and what is bad for us to eat. We now try to use less aromatic cubes in our sauces because they are far too salty and bad for our blood pressure!”
Thanks to your generous donations, we are bringing literacy to children in Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries. We humbly thank you for your continued contributions and constant support. You are helping us write a story of hope in the battle for global literacy.
A day in the life of Ousmane, a fifth grader at the Amadou Hampaté Bâ Middle School
Ousmane, tell us about yourself, your life at home.
I live in Niamey, in a suburb called Bobiel, I am from a polygamous family. My father is married to two women and we are 12 children. My mother is his second wife. We live in a modest home, which is built from packed earth with a straw roof. I share my room with 6 other children.
How do you travel to and from school?
I walk to school every day. We begin at 7:30 and end at 13:30.
What subjects do you take at school?
The subjects taught in my school are French, English, Mathematics, Natural Science, History, Geography, Civics, and Physical Education.
When you first arrived at this middle school as a sixth grader could you read and write?
No, I couldn’t and so I had problems with all of the subjects. Everything was difficult for me.
How did the school help you?
They put me in a special class called “We can do it!” This class helped me a lot. The French teacher taught us how to read and write. Before, I was not at the same level as the other sixth graders and I suffered from low-self esteem. Now I can read and I’m working on my writing as well.
Did your parents have to pay for this special class?
No, they would not have been able to afford it. I would have most probably repeated the sixth grade and then my parents would have taken me out of school.
And now as fifth grader, are you doing well in your classes?
Now that I can read, I’m doing well in certain subjects. I still have problems with my writing, but I can read and understand much more. My favorite subjects are biology and character education.
What do you think about the climate in your school and your relationships with your teachers?
For me, the climate of the school is very good because teachers do not hit us and they try to do their best for us. They listen to us and don’t embarrass or humiliate us.
What are your expectations regarding your future?
Once I finish school, I want to set up my own business. Maybe I’ll open a garage to fix cars or maybe a restaurant or an Internet Café.
Thanks to the generous donations we have received, we were able to give a full scholarship, uniforms and books to Ousmane for two consecutive years, as well as special tutoring sessions to bring his reading and writing up to level. We hope to keep him in school for the next years too. Your contributions will keep him and 19 other underprivileged students in Amadou Hampaté Ba Middle School for the coming years. This particular group of students need to be fully sponsored since their parents are unable to pay anything. So without your donations, they would not be able to continue going to school at all. Thanks for offering them the chance to not only go to school, but to get a quality education.
Your donations are making a real difference in their lives. Thanks for helping us to help them!
It’s summer holidays now for students of the Amadou Hampaté Bâ Middle School after a very successful academic year 2011-2012. Our association is proud to announce and share with you some of the exciting accomplishments that were made possible last year thanks to the help of your commitment and generosity. We would like to say thank you for your contributions and support.
All in all we were able to offer new opportunities and make a huge difference in the lives of underprivileged students in Niger through the innovative approach and quality education being offered at Amadou Hampate Ba Middle School. More and more children are actually staying in school and benefitting from a quality education. Even so, the challenges to advance are still present. We remain confident that with your continued fidelity and generous support, we will meet those challenges, continue to advance, and contribute to the progress of a global community. Thank you.
Fatchima and Abdoul-Rahim : “We count and so do our talents and human qualities!”
LES AMIS DE HAMPATE BA IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE EXCEPTIONAL STUDENT ACHIEVEMENTS IN DIVERSE RANGE OF FIELDS AND ACTIVITIES
Every year the French Cultural Center in Niamey organizes a Spelling Bee contest with the purpose of providing young students with the opportunity to participate in a positive, competitive spelling exchange to improve their French language, spelling capabilities, comprehension and communication skills. This year, one of the 8th graders from our school, was able to go all the way to the semi finals ! We praise and congratulate him for this amazing accomplishment. He did not win first place, but what mattered was his participation and the fact that by doing his best he got that far in the competition. The lessons learned by participating in a spelling bee can last a lifetime and benefit all concerned.
As Alhousseïni, our Spelling Bee candidate, remarked :
“I am just thankful that I got to compete at a National Spelling Bee competition for my school. Next year, I'll try to get further and perhaps even win first place! It'll be good for me, it'll be great for my school."
What do report card ceremonies in this school look like? Each student is honored and recognized for developing his/her unique strengths, virtues, talents, and/or interests. The focus and goal is on EACH student and not just CERTAIN students. The philosophy at Amadou Hampaté Bâ School is to move away from traditional educational hierarchy which values students excelling in French and Math more than those who excel in fine arts or who are leaders of good character. Academically weak students feel just as important as academically strong students. In addition, all students are recognized daily in class and throughout the year.
It is your donations supporting teacher training and quality education that have made this CHANGE possible. THANK YOU for your continued contributions which enable us to make HUGE steps forward and a real difference in all the students’ lives by letting them learn.
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