Fati is 12 years old and lives in a popular neighborhood in the capital city Niamey. Her family is poor. She has 2 brothers and 5 sisters. Her mother is a housewife and her father is retired. Fati obtained her primary school certificate in July 2011 and, like many of her friends, was assigned to a secondary public school which did not have enough classrooms to take them in. And so Fati was stuck at home. Her parents could not afford a private education. Imagine therefore this family’s joy when we announced to them that their daughter qualifies for a scholarship to study at the Amadou Hampaté Bâ Middle School. Fati is presently one of the highest achievers in the 6th grade!
"She is one of our best students because she has a will to learn. She is also among the most attentive and participatory pupils,” says the principal of the school.
Fati was lucky: in most cases girls who cannot continue with their secondary education because of financial reasons, stay at home to help their mothers with the household and petty trading, or else they get married at a very young age.
In a country where many parents are illiterate and little value is attributed to girls’ schooling, lack of parental support contributes greatly to children’s under-performance at school.
"My parents were proud of me when I received my certificate of primary education. And now that I have received this scholarship, they are even prouder. Their support motivates me to work hard because I want to become a doctor”, says Fati.
Aziz is also 12. He has 2 brothers and one sister. His mother is a housewife and his father is unemployed. Finding enough money to feed the family is a daily struggle. Aziz is very happy to have been awarded a scholarship for the Hampaté Bâ Middle School. “At my previous school, the teachers kept threatening us and even though I was a good student, I felt scared. Here teachers never threaten us and they even smile! I like that!” says Aziz with a huge big grin on his face. Aziz does not know what he wants to do later in life. “For the time being, I want to study, that is all”.
“He’s a tough little guy”, says his physical education teacher, “His stamina, even compared to the older students, is quite amazing!”
Thanks to your generous donations, Fati and Aziz have started secondary school since October this year and now have the benefit of a quality education in a friendly environment which is apparent to the whole community, teachers, students, and parents. We want to keep them in secondary school for more years to come. We can do it with your continued support. Thanks for helping Aziz and Fati and our other 18 scholarship holders to make it all the way to high school and even further! Your donations count! Thank you so much.
October 5th is World Teachers’ Day and this year it is under the theme of “TEACHERS FOR GENDER EQUALITY”. Therefore, in September, the staff at the Hampaté Bâ Middle School in Niamey, Niger had two training sessions on Gender Equality in Classrooms. Teachers were asked to kick off the school year by creating an inviting classroom environment and work at being intentionally inviting both towards boys AND girls.
The Training Program provided teachers with opportunities to examine their own gender sensitiveness, to reflect on their own lives as men or women, and to develop gender-equal teaching strategies. This is a very demanding exercise for teachers who are accustomed to following traditional methods automatically without thinking about gender disparities. A real challenge indeed!! The change in attitude starts with the teachers, their realizations and their beliefs! They are the ones who can set the scene for change and start making a difference in gender equality through gender awareness.
They all agreed that once school starts on October 6th, teachers would observe one another in the classes and, among other things, would provide each other with the ratio concerning the number of female students they called on during the class as compared to the number of male students called upon. This would be a first step towards raising awareness of any gender disparities that were made between the girl and the boy students.
Teachers were also made aware of the fact that they often do not pay enough attention to gender specific needs of girls as opposed to boys inside the classroom. For example, girls who have been socialized not to speak out and to look up to boys for leadership, require teaching methodologies that will encourage the girls to express themselves and participate equally with the boys. Both the girls and the boys need to realize that girls do have a voice and a value. It is the teachers’ role to slowly bring girls into the limelight and make them aware of their worth. Teachers were encouraged to use positive reinforcement and group work to encourage engagement among the assumed to be shy girls.
It was also decided that practical execution of science experiments or dissection of animals and insects should not be left to the boy students only!
“"After this program and as a math teacher, I was forced to acknowledge the disproportionate amount of time and attention I give to the boy students in my class. From now on, I will try to pay more attention to the girl students." Hamidou Saley, a seven-grade teacher at Hampaté Bâ.
Les Amis de Hampaté Bâ Organization fully supports the exceptional Teacher Training program at Hampate Ba Middle School as being one of the best ways to improve education of the young students. Our philosophy is that the school needs to start the process of change with the teachers, who can give the example to the students, in order for the gender equality project to be truly effective.
Through specialized and innovative training, the teachers will become aware of the importance of gender equality and be convinced that it is a key factor in making a difference in the learning abilities of the girls. This is the way to pave a road towards the students and for the teachers to transmit to their pupils their strong belief in the potential of girls students and the respect they have for them. A new type of relationship between the teachers/students will be established which will put girl students at ease to participate and give them an opportunity to express themselves, both academically and as human beings.
Thank you very much for your help and support. It is thanks to your generous donations that we are able to support the Teachers in these projects that span a full spectrum, sharing a common commitment to innovation. Your support of the Teachers is inevitably helping the students to get a quality education, where girls are valued by their teachers, by boy students, by the community, and by themselves. By supporting Teacher Training, you are making a difference in these students’ lives and giving them a chance to reach their potential !
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.
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