Your donations are doing more than changing lives; they are changingopinions about the importance of a girl’s education. One of the biggestchallenges our mentors face is convincing parents -- most of whom have neverbeen to school -- of the importance of education, and that attending school isbeneficial for both the child and the family.
I meet with parents to explain my work to them andconvince them to allow me to work with their children.For some parents, it is only after many conversationsabout the importance of education that they come tounderstand my role in the community.- Mentor Zeinabou Djibo
Your continued support has allowed this unique program to thrive. In addition tosupporting students and teaching them about hygiene, health, and nutrition;mentors pass on traditional artisan skills such as weaving, basket making, andpottery; preserving a culture that is thousands of years old. Mentors also speakto entire communities about the benefits of education, which earns mentorsrespect and gives them a voice within their communities that they use to reachfar beyond classroom walls.
I raise awareness on different themes with mystudents’ parents, my neighbors and my friends. If wetake the example of young girls, I try to raiseawareness by saying that no one should give girls whoare in elementary school off to marry. These girls havenot even reached the age of puberty yet. I also speakwith the young men to encourage them not to marryyoung girls. One example I give is that if a girl that istoo young to be married [then] marries a boy, as soonas she becomes pregnant she will have difficulty givingbirth. A young girl’s body cannot support a pregnancyor giving birth.-Mentor Addajhjat Anasbagor
Right now is one of the most exciting times of year for our mentors, who aremeeting with their students and preparing them for the start of the school year.They are also looking for new students to replace last year’s graduates, givingprecedence to especially vulnerable girls who would most benefit from theprogram. Thank you for helping mentors fulfill their mission of bringing educationto rural and nomadic children living in extreme poverty in Niger today.
This program is really thinking about mothers aseducators. When a mother becomes a mentor toother children, we show that we are mothers for allof the children that we look after… Us motherswork together.-Assolo Sidi
Throughout 2015, RAIN will be focusing on the expansion, improvement and rehabilitation of existing School Market Gardens and their attendant wells in current partner communities before expanding into new communities. Existing gardens are being expanded from 500 to 1,000 square meters to accommodate cash crops, increasing sustainability. In some communities, the gardens are receiving intensive rehabilitation due to recent floods, droughts and changes in nomadic living patterns (see previous project report).
The goal of all of our programs is self sustainability leading to new paths that are independent of RAIN. We are fortunate enough to have garnered support from foundations in addition to individuals like you to carry the program through to 2016. In light of this, we're closing the School Market Garden project on GlobalGiving for the time being. We truly value your caring acts of friendship and hope you might be inspired to continue your support of RAIN and the nomadic communities in Niger we call our partners.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, women grow as much as 90% of the region's food. However, custom and family demands often prevent women from spending the time needed to cultivate agriculture. An optimal solution is to empower them to feed their families with a large shared garden with drip irrigation. As our agricultural programs develop, they are taking the form of these mainly women-driven gardens that benefit entire communities on a wider scale. To reflect this shift in scope, look for our Women's Community Garden Project Page coming soon - another opportunity to support organic food production in Niger, with a special focus on the densly populated southern Tilliberi region. Tillaberi communities are among the most food insecure in all of Niger, yet receive little or no assistance.
Building upon the successful School Market Garden model, RAIN initiated our first community garden with 99 women of the Tillaberi community of Mari. The cooperative garden model ensures consistent watering through group effort. Profits are increased by each member’s participation in money-saving marketing and delivery methods. Each woman contributes to the monthly salary of a gardener to run the drip irrigation system, allowing her a flexible schedule. Using solar drying ovens provided by RAIN, they prepare, dry and preserve the produce, along with a variety of seeds, for sale in local markets.
RAIN will continue to build on the success of the Women's Community Garden pilot in Mari as a model for our pioneering garden-as-classroom cirriculum in organic techniques, crop variety and rotation, and maximizing nutrition for children and adults alike.
We hope you'll continue to support food security to the most remote struggling in the Sahel and Sahara with these new opportunities. Check back for the new Women's Community Garden project in late August. Tanmeert!
In Niger, 90% of girls don’t have the chance to go to school – and 1 in 3 will marry before their 15th birthday. Rural families fighting for survival don’t always understand the value of education – that girls who complete primary school marry later and have healthier children – and that each year she is in school, her community becomes more resilient to poverty.
With your help, wer'e beating the odds for at-risk girls in remote desert communities by ensuring access to an education with the most effective change makers on the ground: women mentors.
160 mentors act as local ambassadors of education for more than 600 girls in 17 schools, bridging the gap between school and home life. Determined to give the next generation options they never had, mentors actively address obstacles keeping a girl from school. Impending marriage plans, illness or economic household pressures - case by case, they engage with families as a trusted neighbor and advisor. The girls form strong bonds with their mentors and are succeeding in school at unprecedented levels.
These stories from the field of girls and their mentors are great testimonies to this dynamic support in action that you’ve helped to make possible.
SafiatouA sixth grader in the community of Lemdou, Safiatou failed to pass the government test required to progress to middle school. She moved back home, ready to abandon school forever. The school director became concerned when she did not come to class, and immediately contacted her mentor, Assamhat. Assamhat walked the ten miles to Safiatou's home to meet with her parents, who were unaware that she had the option to repeat the grade. The very next day, Safiatou once again rejoined her peers in class for a second chance.“I have learned a lot of things through my mentor...she also teaches us how to make crafts. Once I make something well, I can also teach my little sisters, my friends and anyone else that wants to learn. There are many difficulties I face in order to study well. I help prepare meals, get water from the well, and go into the bush for firewood. Once, I became sick. My mentor came to visit me at home. After that, she went to school to explain to my teacher that I was sick and could not go to school."
Assalama – Iferouane Mentor & President
“I have learned so much with the mentoring program. I help girls to understand important issues concerning their lives like early marriage and how to manage their menstrual cycles for those that reach the age of puberty.
One day a woman was telling me that she was concerned about some girls that would group together at night. She was concerned that they were up to no good. So one evening she listened to what the girls were talking about. One of the girls told her friends she had her period and did not know how to approach anyone. One of my students said, ‘My mentor is always helping us with different problems and talks with us about things like this. She even goes around to the classes at school to talk with us about health issues, too.' We are like a network of mothers.”
Mentor Houdeyja, Community of Ingui
“There are enormous challenges that I face. Parents do not give education any value. They force their children to marry young and push them to go to school when they are sick. But the parents do really understand and work with me a lot. To work on these challenges, it’s necessary to raise awareness from village to village about the benefits of education. My work as a mentor changes the lives of the students I help. None of the girls I mentor have married early. Parents let their children finish school."
Hadjara - Sixth grader, Bonfeba
"My mentor teaches me things and advises me so that I can succeed in life. I told my parents one day when my mentor spoke with us about school. My parents like what my mentor does for me. I told them that she talked with us about not being late for school and that she advised us to do more studying at home rather than going to play or watch movies at the neighborhood TV spot."
Hadiza - Sixth grade, Tagantassou
"I have learned a lot from things my mentor has explained to me. She tells me not to miss class. She tells me to try to push my friends that are not in school to come to enroll in school. She talks to me about things like hygiene, the importance of going to school, and about how to make things."
Now is the time to expand our team of mentors, so that more at-risk girls can succeed with an advocate, advisor and devoted friend by their side for the coming school year and beyond. With your continued support and the work of dedicated mentors in the field, we can get nomadic girls back to school and back on the road to greater health and opportunity.