Feb 12, 2018

Women's Gardens Giving Hope

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 are 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 on 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 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.”

            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 is needed in rural Niger to encourage a strong local economy.  These gardens are stimulating growth and creating a sustainable living for these magnificent people. The future of these ethnic groups livelihood and their culture lies in sustainable living and community development.

Feb 7, 2018

Bring Lights and Education to Niger

 Mouda an Agadez Learning Center student came to the Center from a place of poverty and lack of opportunity. She is a motivated and bright individual. Many of the other children her age cannot continue their education past primary school, due to distance, lack of funds, or parents that would rather have them help around the home.  The ALC houses motivated and determined children like Mouda and allow them to continue their education. The Center provides a living space for students that would not have access to secondary school. Students are provided with afterschool lessons from local teachers, food, water, electricity, traditional crafts, and life skills lessons. Progress is being made on many fronts. We have designs for an expansion to the center that would include: a separated girl’s restroom, facility for the director to live on site (for extra security), and the solar computer lab/classroom.

Currently, the Center can house fifty students. RAIN currently is sponsoring 31 students. With these added facilities students will be able to have access to the internet and learn about things that they have never dreamed of. In expanding these students will have more opportunities and be better prepared for the future.

 "My parents are poor and cannot help with my education. When we compare our lives with our friends who aren’t at the center, it is easy to see that we have so many more opportunities than other girls. We hope that our other friends can also benefit from RAIN's support." - ALC Student Mouda

Students like Mouda need to be supported in order to have a voice. They have the solar equipment, now they just need the building. Help us create a more sustainable future for these at-risk children. During this troubling time right before the “hunger season,” the ALC will need as much help as possible, so will our partner communities.

With your support, Mouda and others like her will have the chance to change their lives and communities. It starts with you, you are the catalyst for change! 

Dec 4, 2017

Spreading Effect of Education

“I have learned a lot of things through my mentor. She talks with us about health, telling us to be sure to wash our hands before and after we eat and to wash our clothes regularly. She also tells us about education with examples about the importance of education. She also teaches us how to make crafts.” – Safiatou.

The effects of education spread to the communities of these children too. They learn and grow, re-teaching others what they have learned. The mentors inspire students -- giving them a reason to think of the future with hope and eagerness.  Educating girls is the way to improve society. Girls grow up to be women who send their children to school, have smaller and healthier families, and contribute to their communities. Mentors are key to motivating parents to invest in their daughters by sending them to school.

“I share what I learn from my mentor with my parents and with my friends. Even among us sponsored kids, I have a friend that speaks/is Songhai [Safiatou is a Tuareg, Tamasheq speaker, but also bilingual in Songhai and learning French at school as the third language]. As soon as my mentor finishes explaining something to us in Tamasheq, I explain to my Songhai friend. She understands very well with me there. Everything that our mentor explains, I listen very well and after I explain that to my friend.” – Safiatou.

Niger is in dire need of educated people.  Mentors are the key that unlocks the potential for young girls’ and boys’ bright minds.  Students like Safiatou share their knowledge with those around them.

Mentors help nurture students reach their highest potentials academically, socially, and personally. Mentors also teach fundamental skills like traditional crafts.  These skills will likely become a means of a potential income. Mentors’ encouragement of education is vital for these children as many of the students come from families where education is not valued or understood to be important.

As the importance of education spreads from children to adults Niger will continue to improve and evolve. With your help, there will be more mentors for more children and more children staying in school as the result. 

                 You can help change the lives of so many young girls, who wouldn’t have the opportunity to thrive otherwise. Donating helps more than an individual, it helps whole communities.


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