Help 80 Secondary Pupils in Niger Read and Write

 
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Ousseina Seyni is so happy and thankful she got a full scholarship this year to go to Hampaté Bâ Middle School with its unique quality education. This opportunity inspired her to work hard and we are proud of her results. She successfully passed her 6th grade exams and received two Merit Awards: one for her excellent grades and another for her human qualities. Ousseina’s father, a janitor, was very touched when he found out that his daughter had not only done well academically, but had also shown and given respect to fellow students and teachers throughout the school year.

The concept at Hampaté Bâ School is simple: Knowledge is praiseworthy when it is coupled with ethical conduct and virtuous character.In our school good behavior and high moral character come first.” says Moussa Haougui, the senior administrator. “How can we develop our country if we produce learned but corrupt and dishonest future leaders for example?” he asks.

Concerning corruption for instance, the character education program at Hampaté Bâ called “Capacity development” goes beyond providing students certain skills to fight it. It puts emphasis on the need for moral convictions and not just techniques in the fight against corruption.

 “Now I know that corruption is an injustice that needs to be fought because it offends human dignity. Corrupt practices lead to unjust social inequalities that deprive the poor of the chance to live truly human lives.” says Alhousseïni Rabiou, a mature seventh grader and also a recipient of two Merit Awards.

 It is thanks to your generous donations that Hampaté Bâ Middle School can provide the Nigerien students with courses such as these which help shape their minds to aspire for a more just global society. Your support and commitment help Hampaté Bâ students learn not only to read, write and count, but also to think and reason.

The end of the current academic year is fast approaching and this is a very busy time of the year at the Hampaté Bâ Middle School in Niamey.

 During the last three months, learning conditions have become difficult because of the intense heat – with temperatures rising to 39°C/102°F inside the classrooms - and the daily electricity cuts. Power cuts come without warning at almost any time of the day or the night and they can last a whole day!

 Despite the difficult material and climatic conditions, the latest test scores show that thanks to our new intensive remedial program, progress has been made in spoken and written language skills in French, but of course there is still a lot of room for improvement. The girl students with scholarships have done very well in almost every subject including French, but need more help with mathematics.

 “Punctuation didn’t mean a thing to me before and I hardly ever used it in my written work. One day, my French teacher compared language to music saying the words were the melody and the punctuation was the rhythm. Now I understand why I must put commas, periods, colons, semicolons, etc. in my written work.” says Amina, a 13 year old, with a huge smile on her face.

 Aiming for teacher excellence, Principal Hassane Baro has asked for the teacher training study circles to be geared more towards communication, collegiality, and risk-taking in order to create an atmosphere of learning and leadership for all.

 “I want my teachers to have high expectations for their students of course, but even higher expectations for themselves.

 At Hampaté Bâ, the teacher training study circles are really starting to make an impact. For example, veteran biology teacher, Tini, is willing to make a renewed commitment to his profession, his students, and himself. Ask him and he'll tell you that he's now "on board.”

 “Before I attended Hampaté Bâ study circles, I expected my students to be engaged and to pay attention no matter how boring and repetitious my biology class was. I also expected students to be well behaved no matter how I treated them (shouting, sarcasm, etc.) Now, I still want my audience to give me their full attention – but I’ve learned that it’s my job and responsibility to gain, and to keep, their attention and their respect. If I’m not doing that, I need to change my approach.” 

Principal Baro says : “If we are lucky enough to be able to continue this project, soon all of my teachers will start the day by asking ‘What miracles can I create in my classroom today?’ instead of asking ‘How many more days left before the holidays?’”

 The Hampaté Bâ School is founded on the principle of working towards the emergence of a new generation of students who will be ready and able to participate in the improving of local and global communities through a high quality training in the areas of education, culture, health, environmental action and all initiatives conducive to the social and economic development of the human race.

Les amis de Hampaté Bâ is committed more than ever to support the school. It is because of your generosity that we are able to commit to serving more students and of building hope where there is so little.

Thank you for joining our efforts, embracing our vision, taking action, and joining the celebration. None of this would be possible without your generous donations.


 

Our ongoing aim is to teach basic literacy skills to students who are experiencing difficulty in language and reading, and this is progressing well. "When I joined Hampaté Bâ, I realized how many learners arrived without a fluency in French," said Mr Sita, the newly recruited French teacher. "Working with students in the remediation classes brings us closer to our dream to have each and every learner who enters our school leave with the ability to read and write French fluently."

Nine teachers regularly attend teacher training study circles and the school hopes to become an example for others to follow in a country where schools are in desperate need of educational leadership.  In spite of difficult working conditions, the local staff is, slowly but surely, proving their commitment to change and have persevered over a long rough road to lift Hampaté Bâ School's capacity. The training opportunities that Les Amis de Hampaté Bâ is able to offer the teachers thanks to GlobalGiving donors’ generosity, enhance the general quality of the school and help to make Hampaté Bâ an innovative institution with a well-trained staff.

We are very happy to have given scholarships to deserving girl students in need this year.

Nafissa’s mother is a widow, with no income to support herself and her two children. Nafissa loves the character education classes, studying French and English, and drawing. She is in grade 6. Her former school didn't have any of these activities.

Hamsa is 12 and in grade 6. She loves to sew, draw, and read. She wants to go on to become a nurse. Her father has a job, but wages are low, and it's difficult to find the means to keep her in school. She has five brothers. Girls often drop out of secondary school because priority is given to brothers, and many girls of that age leave school and get married.

Thanks to your donations, girls like Nafissa and Hamsa are able to attend Hampaté Bâ.

And each year, another young Nafissa or Hamsa will peek through the school's gate and see the future of what they and the republic of Niger can become.

With your help and support, we want to invite them all in.

We wish you all a marvelous New Year 2011 and are very happy to give you exciting news concerning the Hampaté Bâ School. In addition to the remediation tutoring started for reading and writing for the 6th graders and new permanent teachers acquired this fall, we were able to advance in the area of gender equality. This is a big step forward! 

Thanks to your generous contributions to the Association “les Amis de Hampaté Bâ”, in December we were able to add 7 new girl students receiving scholarships, in addition to 2 who had already qualified for scholarships in October.  That brings us to a total of 9 girls who are receiving full scholarships to attend the Hampaté Bâ School.

How do your donations make a difference in these girls’ lives? The Association is able to retain girl students from modest backgrounds by paying fees for one academic year plus uniforms and access to textbooks. The education provided by the Hampaté Bâ school can change the lives of these girls, who now have a chance to have a quality education and finish secondary school in optimum learning conditions. The emphasis on social justice, so important to the Hampaté Bâ School, and transformative education can turn these girls into confident achievers. No more overcrowded classrooms for them and the privilege of going to a school where they can take advantage of the process of a positive personal transformative education and quality learning!

The school is very proud and happy to welcome these new girl students to the school community. The girls are very energetic and enthusiastic about attending such an innovative school.

While the other students were home for 10 days enjoying a well-deserved holiday, the school remained open for these newly sponsored girl students who came to school every morning and worked diligently with their Maths, English, French and Physics teachers in order to catch up with the work they had missed the first 3 months. Learning for them is exciting and a privilege. “Physics is fun! Now I know why and how an egg can get sucked into a bottle!!!” said Ousseina with a huge big smile on her face.

 As you can see from the photos, despite the immense challenges facing them, these new students are in high spirits because donors like you are helping “Les amis de Hampaté Bâ” make significant improvements in their learning conditions.

We are so grateful for your donations which have given these 9 girls the opportunity to attend the unique Hampaté Bâ School. We hope this is just the beginning! Thank you.

Learning all about spelling!
Learning all about spelling!

 Since October 2010, the first phase of the remediation project has started for secondary students. 80 students (45 girls and 35 boys) were subdivided into tutoring groups of 15 for their French classes. Textbooks were ordered in France and will soon be sent to the school in Niamey. This will allow students to follow a very rigorous language program and thus improve their limited French proficiency.

 “Before, our teachers paid attention to the good students only. Now they spend more time with the ones who are behind level!” Student from 6th grade.

 “Our French teacher got 15 of us together and explained the things we did not understand the first time. We were so touched by this action that we were really motivated to work harder.” Student from 7th grade.

 “Sometimes you have to go slow in order to go fast. Spending more time on the basics, particularly French, represents a pathway to higher achievement in all subjects”, says Djamilou, the newly hired and trained French teacher.

 As a start, 9 teachers have attended 4 professional development sessions and these training workshops are beginning to alter instructional behavior in a way that benefits students’ learning. Through analysis of student data, the sharing of student work, continual dialogue among the staff, 90- minute learning blocks, and homework sessions in the morning and evening, teachers hope to address the significant academic and French language skill gaps of entering students. Literacy is a primary focus of these years, helping students to accelerate their reading and writing skills to grade level as rapidly as possible.

Your donations will help us meet the challenge of turning learners into leaders. Our aim is to continue improving the quality of education for underprivileged youth, especially girls, and thus reduce the dropout rate.

We are so grateful for your support and we cannot wait to share with you the progress our students are making with this innovative program as the school year goes on.

Studying hard!
Studying hard!

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