Empower girls in Niger for change via education

May 21, 2013


In the "girls only" class held once a week at the Amadou Hampaté Bâ School, Rahina and Aichatou, two bright and lively sixth graders,  learn things that really matter to them.

Last week, our teacher talked about early marriages and  pregnancies. For example, I learnt that too-early childbearing is not good for the mother's health and that it can even be dangerous for the baby.

I now have very good arguments against early marriages. I like traditions, but I think this one is not good for us, or for our families, or for society as a whole. 

In Niger, gender gaps in education are real: Girls face greater hurdles than boys in getting an education and are more likely to leave school long before boys. Focusing on schools that specifically support girls' education is one way to overcome the barriers girls face.

Amadou Hampaté Bâ is one such school. Our association supports this school because it helps girls get a quality education -- essential for alleviating poverty, and breaking down the social and political barriers that exclude girls from fully participating in the future of their country.

Rahina and Aichatou are lucky to be studying in a school where there are separate sanitary facilities for girls, where teachers are encouraged and trained to treat boys and girls equally,  and where a special "girls only class" addresses issues like early marriage, HIV and AIDS awareness, puberty, pregnancy and parenting.

Thanks for continuing to support this worthy cause and give these girls a chance for education and break the poverty cycle.

Feb 21, 2013


These 3 radiant faces say it all! This semester, in grade 8, the Gold, the Bronze and the Silver Awards were won by three girls!

Hanatou : I worked hard and felt very much supported by my teachers.

Hadiza : I like coming to Hampaté Bâ  School because I feel I can do my best here. At home, it is not always the case. My brothers count more than I do.

Sara : It is nice to see three girl winners on the podium!! I’m happy to be one of them!

Studies show that girls’ learning achievement is greatly affected by what goes on in the classroom, such as teachers giving preferential treatment to boys. Changes in the behavior of teachers, such as calling on girls as well as boys, have increased the girls’ participation at the Amadou Hampaté Bâ School, and the academic results are here to prove it. Making sure all teachers participate in gender-sensitive trainings is another step we have taken to increase equality for girls in the classroom and this has helped break down stereotypes about what girls are capable of doing.

Your donations help us provide an environment where the innate gifts of girls can be nurtured and developed.  So please continue supporting our girl empowerment project. We are so grateful to you for helping us change these girls’ lives for the better! Thank you!

Nov 26, 2012

The New School Year

Some schools help you pass an exam, others get you through life.

In October, the beginning of the new school year for students in Niger, we asked our girl students who receive scholarships from us to continue school, how they felt about coming back to the Amadou Hampaté Bâ Middle School and here's what they had to say!

  • I'm looking forward to math. I like numbers. I'm looking forward to lunch as well. I love sharing my condensed milk sandwiches with my friends.
    Amina, 13
  • I'm looking forward to recess and making new friends and seeing my old friends. I like science because our teacher is very good and I want to become a botanist.
    Ousseina, 14
  • I'm looking forward to changing classes and making new friends. I'm definitely looking forward to meeting my teachers. Teachers here care about us. I'm not looking forward to waking up so early in the morning though.
    Salamatou, 15
  • I'm looking forward to French. It's my favorite subject. I'm not looking forward to the English class because it's going to be new and perhaps difficult.
    Nana, 12

Ordinary words from ordinary girl students? No, not really. In Niger, the rate of early marriage is of 77 percent. Without your donations, Amina, Nana, Ousseina and Salamatou would NOT have come back to school. Not being able to afford their school fees, their parents would have most probably married them off. At 14 and 15, they would have been talking about their difficult pregnancies, their babies’ health problems, their relationships with their co-wives, their lack of independence, and their difficult economic situation.

 Thanks to your donations, these girl students won’t be taken out of school once they hit puberty. At the Hampaté Bâ Middle School, Amina, Nana, Ousseina, and Salamatou will not only benefit from an education that will provide them with factual knowledge and technical skills, but they will also learn social skills and develop self-esteem and the confidence needed to access resources and opportunities, and to voice opinions.

 Thanks to your generosity, Les amis de Hampaté Bâ will be able to give girl students more years of schooling which will result in many positive outcomes, including later ages of marriage, lower fertility, and healthier and better educated children.

 If that is not making a difference in someone’s life, what is?

Aug 29, 2012


The academic year 2011-2012 is over and we are grateful that les Amis de Hampaté Bâ succeeded in making a step forward in supporting girls’ education in Niger.

 As you know, our organization is backing the innovative approach of the Hampaté Bâ Middle School, which is offering quality secondary education to underprivileged students in Niger, especially girls, and we are hoping that more and more children can benefit from such an education.

 To repeat figures: two-thirds of the world’s uneducated children are girls, and two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women. It has been shown that educating women and girls is the single most effective strategy to ensure the well-being and health of children, and the long-term success of developing economies.

 In view of that, we are trying to inspire change in the emerging world and are working on ways to highlight and empower girls in Niger. Our mission through the new Home Economics program is to raise awareness about the issues adolescent girls face and focus on gender equality, revealing practical pathways that can help them pursue their education and improve their life.

 This change in attitude will come on gradually, but we are proud to say that the beginning of the program showed very positive results.

 The Girls

The girls started to realize that a woman is actually worth something, that she has a value, and that she is able to do many things to help herself, her family, and her country. The girl students gained confidence, started asserting themselves and gained knowledge about different tasks that a woman can perform. Some of them even declared that they would like to be a doctor or a football commentator and felt this could become a reality. THIS is inspiring!

The Parents

Impoverished parents started reflecting on the education of their girls, and began to realize that an education could be important and that a girls’ plight is not only to be at home to help them out and to be married young.  They were in fact grateful that their daughters received scholarships from our organization, and a committee of parents made a special trip to the school to express their gratitude. THIS is a real breakthrough.

 The Teachers

Teachers became conscious of their previous habits to favorise boy students, and started to correct this attitude, by paying attention to girl students also. They realized through teacher development courses and also through working with the girls that the girl students had much to offer. THIS was a revelation.

 Your contributions have brought a smile to the girls’ faces and we sincerely thank you for your generosity. Your fidelity will allow this program to continue to thrive, keep the girls in school, and help us keep this project going with unfolding chapters and new exciting computer projects to expand their skills and knowledge. THANK YOU for continuing to help them!!

May 31, 2012

Let them Learn

Amina, Sadia and Ousseina : Thriving, succeeding, and shining!

We are honored to announce that students in Paris, France gave a Spring Concert on May 24th with proceeds going to our Girl Empowerment Project: “Let them Learn” promoting equal access to quality education for teen girls in Niger.

In conjunction with the current United Nations Girl Education Initiative, this program dedicated to gender equality aims to finance secondary education of adolescent girls in Niger, one of the 5 poorest countries in the world. Despite severe and ongoing challenges in Niger limiting educational opportunities for girls, with only 6% enrolled in secondary school, this great project aims to break the poverty cycle and encourage self- respect for girl students. We want to increase the number of scholarships for girls and focus on specific girl-oriented educational innovations: finance a specialized home economics teacher, discourage early marriage, teach hygiene and home economic skills and promote nutrition. According to students like Amina, Sadia and Ousseina attending this Girl Empowerment Program:

The atmosphere in our home economics class is positive, pressure-free and non-competitive. That is why I feel so comfortable in that class.”

“I’ve just learned that too much salt and mono-sodium glutamate are not good for one’s health. The bouillon cubes my mother uses in her cooking contain plenty of those ingredients! I’ll ask her to use them more sparingly.”

“Before, at home, I had to cook dinner, and wash up and do all the other house chores which girls are expected to help with. Now my parents allow me to spend more time on my homework.”

The benefits of providing students like Amina, Sadia and Ousseina with a Girl Empowerment Program at the Amadou Hampaté Bâ School are clear.  They are more likely to enter the work force, earn higher incomes, delay marriage, plan their families, and seek an education for their own children. Their children will more likely be healthy and survive past the age of 5.  When they earn income, they will put 90% into their families, compared to only 40% for men.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

Thank you for changing the world of these girls. With your help, we are doing it! Your continued support and generous donations allow them to have the freedom to learn.

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