Oct 4, 2018

New Construction For Agadez Learning Center

 

RAIN is constantly expanding or improving our programs. With the build capacity fund, we are looking to create permanent structural changes to the Agadez Learning Center. This will allow for more students to access the Center and for the facilities to accommodate that growth. These structural changes include the creation of two more classrooms, a bathroom, a solar-powered lab, and staffing space.

Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. It has a literacy rate of 15% and 61% of Nigeriens live on $1 dollar a day. In order to give these rural and nomadic people a chance to thrive, we must help our West African friends. Their struggle is our struggle too. Change starts with education and it starts with the children.

The Agadez Learning Center is making the move to expand. RAIN wants to create a building that is able to hold books and knowledge for students that wish to learn.  The ALC is one of the most important and vital parts of RAIN’s programs. It is the key to bringing education and ending circular poverty. This is most important to the young women and girls, many of whom have the potential of been married young and never having the chance to finish their education. RAIN helps give skills and informed knowledge to illiterate women mentors, who turn into activists. They encourage girls to stay in school by telling them about their struggles.

The expansion of the ALC will allow more students to benefit from computers and information not available to them without one. Many students have never seen a laptop and computer skills are lacking in the country. This would give them a step up in their communities and also give them practical skills that are desirable. Children will become curious and creative.  Students will research at the library and use the internet to learn and study. They all have the intention of providing for their communities and families. This is what is so powerful about the rural and nomadic communities, they work together to survive and give back to one another. The solar library will give a new opportunity to students that truly want to empower themselves and who want to succeed. The continued support and growth of the learning center are vital as it allows more students the ability to get an education to have support and guidance. RAIN needs your help to build this special space. Having a place that promotes opportunity is so rare in West Africa. Support for these remarkable people comes in many forms from RAIN, but its best is education. Come to join Rain for the Sahel and Sahara as we push students toward their dreams and ambitions.   

Sep 20, 2018

Help Women Mentors Become Sustainable

 Are Mentors Really that Important for Rural Nigerien Children? 


The short answer is well, yes. Of course, it is far more complicated than that, so let's dive in, shall we? First things first, what is a mentor? A mentor is a person that guides you or supports you through a portion of your life or education. In Niger, the numbers of students that make it to middle school are shockingly low. Niger is rated last in the United Nations' Education Index which is determined by what the expected number of years of schooling should be and the actual number that citizens are attending. Girls on average only attend school for 3 years and boys 5 years.

So how do you flip the script and give these children a leg up in a struggling world? That is a big question...here is what our organization is doing. Rain for the Sahel and Sahara partners with local women to help primary school children understand the value of education and to encourage them to stay in school, all while, giving lessons in traditional crafts, and practical skills.

Children that have a mentor have shown to have a 5% higher retention rate at school than their non-mentored peers. Our partner mentors are dedicated to the cause. Assamhat, a mentor in the Tillaberi region, walked 10 miles in triple-digit temperatures when one of her students was absent from class. That is the kind of people our mentors are.

"RAIN's Mentoring Program permitted us to complete the entire academic program... When practically every school in the country was closed, we remained open.”
- Abdoul Aziz, Aouderas Middle School Math, and Physics-Chemistry teacher

Our mentors have become a force in the community, many regarded as "wise woman." They become advisers to village elders in regards to the school in the community. This respect allows them to talk with parents that would otherwise be against sending their children to school.

After all, it is hard to invest your child's time into education when the family may not have food that night. However, the support that mentors give is felt throughout the community and by the families of children mentees. Even those reluctant to send their children to school admit there is a positive change in the
community.

The reason why the mentors are so impactful is that of the scope of their work and the dedication to the students, parents, and community. They care about their community and they want to prepare the next generation with the knowledge that can be used to better their lives.

Jul 11, 2018

Women Gardens for Food and Income

We partner with local communities providing women’s community gardens for rural people of Niger. These gardens are maintained by the women throughout the year. With irrigated water systems people are able to plant for the entire year, which was impossible before. There is an increasing need for food and water security in Niger. There is even a season called the Hunger Season, in which there is little to no water available. Many Nigeriens would say that the lack of water is a normal occurrence however and during the Hunger Season their struggle is made far worse.

There is a saying that the local Tuareg have for RAIN, “RAIN is the one that comes back.” It is a powerful message as many other organizations working in the area work and then leave without a sustainable way to continue forward. That is what RAIN does, by partnering with these communities a trusting bond has developed. RAIN’s programs focus on community development aiming for a self-sustaining platform to form. By partnering with these groups they are able to work hands-on, gaining knowledge and experience. “My home is made of adobe bricks walls, eucalyptus branch support beams, covered with reed mats, and the roof is sealed with adobe. There is a front room and a bedroom and I have a sitting area outside with adobe walls and millet-stalk shade-canopy porch. We tie the stalks together to create a solid structure to block the hot sun.

"When it is too hot in the rooms, we sit in the enclosed porch. I cook outside with a pot on three rocks. When my daughter comes home from school she helps me with the cooking and cleaning. With twins now, things are very difficult for me. What else can I tell you about my home? I have a bed and basic household supplies like a mortar and pestle, some cooking pots, calabash gourds, two plastic jugs for fetching water, and a bench and stool to sit on when myself or my daughter cook. I also have 3 goats and 4 sheep. When times are difficult, we can sell them for food, medicine, clothes, or we kill one for a holiday so that we can eat meat. It is the only time that we really eat meat. I also have a grass-reed mat-making area. “Our village is made up of Ighawalan Tuaregs. Our work is making tabarma (grass-reed) mats. Our husbands are millet farmers and herders. Many men also go to the coast to work. We have an elementary school. This year, they started a middle school but our children are studying in grass-mat classrooms, some them sit in the dirt to study. We have a small health hut, too, but there is not always medicine in it. Women need to walk or ride a donkey-cart several miles if they want to see a doctor while pregnant or to weigh babies for the first few months after they are born.” - Hariatou

Women just like Hariatou are enduring these hardships, but also are beginning to have access to more opportunities. The women community gardens feed hundreds of families and the number of participating women continues to grow. These changes are what are needed in rural Niger to encourage a strong local economy. These gardens are stimulating growth and creating sustainable living for these magnificent people. The future of these ethnic groups livelihood and their culture lies in sustainable living and community development.

 
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