Girls in rural and nomadic Niger are the most susceptible to falling into circular poverty. Niger is one of the poorest counties in the world. Women are affected by this the most. However it has been shown that women give back to their communities and families more often than men. With education comes the safeguard against child marriage, cyclical poverty and illiteracy.
The mentoring program that RAIN has set up, allows young girls to be guided by older women to continue their schooling. The women will be counselors, talking to students and parents alike. Many of the parents have never finished primary school let alone secondary school. With the mentors help the students are learning and staying in school longer. It is imperative that the parents understand the importance of school. Girls can be married off at the age of 12 sometimes younger, so every year that they remain in school gives them that better chance to ensure a better future.
I have two professional options defined as follows:
“First, be a teacher to help educate the young of my village and secondly, be a professional trainer like our mentor Madame Azara in order to support women in my village. I could help women to develop management skills in small businesses that they will be using to earn money.
The income generating activities (practical skills) our trainer teaches in the center will allow us to help our sisters who have not had the chance to go to school or continue their education cycle, to learn a job that will satisfy our financial needs.” – Doulla Student.
The mentor program gives women the skills they need to help one another and teach, not only the young girls, but also other women in the communities. With the growth of one comes the growth of many. The Agadez Learning Center is also a way that the girls can gain support to remain in school. The ALC offers tutoring programs and a primary school education. Many students are benefiting from this building and the mentors themselves stated above are given training to teach them business and leadership skills. This in turn helps them motivate the students to achieve more and continue to grow and learn.
Women holding babies close to bosoms one handed, pouring water with the other. Giving life with both, seeds grow towards the sun, food for a plentiful year. Communities come together like never before to preserve themselves in rows of dirt and soil. They toil in the hot sun, for a better life, crafting that dream with their own kin. Lessons taught, in a drying landscape. To survive is to learn and vise versa. Hoes scraping cracked ground, creating divots and paths. Little rivers flow from lakes made from little drops. They irrigate for a sustainable future. The pumpkin, onion, carrots and cucumber reach from the earth to be pulled free, so that hundreds more may gain sustenance.
Colorful women garbed against the elements stand united. Together they pick and grow, reaping the rewards of days passed, when seedlings were young. Housework, children care, pounding grain, making reed mats a story heard too often. It is a difficult life, but with the gardens they have hope. They gather and learn, repeating the cycle to reach change. It is not a Sisyphean task, but a fruitful venture. With hard work and togetherness of community, prosperity is possible.
“I joined the garden cooperative because we have seen RAIN’s work in the Mari Women’s Garden [3 miles from Tagantassou] and how much the women benefit from the garden. We hope that the garden will help us to work less on the tabarma mats. We want to have more vegetables for our families and to make some money. We want to change our market and have people coming to buy crops from us instead of going to the town.” -Hariatou
Tangled roots and vines slither amongst the now quenched land. The secrets to a bountiful harvest is to know when to grow, when to yield, and when to not give in. The women have learned these lessons well and demonstrate determination in the garden. Other communities will join RAIN’s women’s gardens so that they also may be sustained. Self-sustaining gardens will create self-sustaining communities. With a strong will, dreams become reality in the garden.
Donate today to help hundreds of women in several communities come together and feed their families. Women in local rural communities struggle daily trying to find food and income, together we can provide relief, opportunities, and a sustainable food source.
At Rain for the Sahel and Sahara 142 women who have never attended school are providing guidance and advocacy to 650 girls and at-risk boys to help them stay in school and succeed there. In a region where fewer than 15% of the children attend school, and those who do attend for an average of only 3 – 4 year, we are seeing the first girls ever graduating from our partner primary schools.
But junior high and high schools are only located in towns too far from our students’ rural homes.
Our Agadez Learning Center creates a place for young girls and boys to live in a safe and structured environment where they receive scholarships, tutoring and mentoring. Our students are working toward becoming nurses, teachers, engineers, agriculture specialists and more. But at the public school they attend there are 80 kids in a class, no computers and electricity comes and goes.
A solar system has been donated to provide power. Help us build a computer lab and library. With computers come valuable skills and, with internet, the ability to research, study and learn in a completely new way. Other countries, peoples and animals will part of their world. Many have never seen a river, pond or ocean.
“I am very proud to be at the center because there is tutoring, food, water, a cook and guards. We also have beds and mattresses and school supplies that we would not have on our own. There are also good rules at the center. They have built nice rooms for us. There are always good meals for us.” – Ghissa
Help Rain for the Sahel and Sahara bring a world of curiosity, knowledge and skill to rural and nomadic girls at risk boys of the Sahara. Donate today to help create a solar computer lab and library to fuel dreams of a better future.