Jun 7, 2021

OBJECTIVES BECOMING REALITY - 2021 UPDATE

Good luck to BAC Candidates : 2021
Good luck to BAC Candidates : 2021

We thought you might be interested in a quick review of what’s happening currently in Niger as well as a brief update of where we stand concerning the objectives our Association had set in 2009 to help our underprivileged scholarship recipients make progress and thrive.  What started out 12 years ago as a program to give them a quality education, reduce drop-out rates, and specifically improve reading and writing deficiencies, has grown and evolved into a very encompassing project with amazing long-term results. 

One of our cherished programs “Food for Thought” for our scholarship recipients at Hampaté Bâ School, was put in place with the following objective, which basically sums up in a nutshell our Association’s overall objectives:

“That the “Food for Thought Program would help provide our underprivileged students not able to finance food, with good, healthy meals, more energy and nourishment for both body and mind, and in the long run, give these underprivileged students equal opportunities to help boost academic results, to reach their potential and to be able to complete their schooling and break the poverty cycle.”

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED ?

Were those good meals responsible for the resilience and energy visibly fostered over the years by these students coming from low economic backgrounds? Most likely, the meals did help, as who can study on an empty stomach?  But little did we suspect that these underprivileged students would indeed beat all the odds, resist many major challenges, et soar to unexpected heights academically and personally, with eagerness, motivation and ambition! 

2019- 2021 : VERY CHALLENGING YEARS IN NIGER`

These are conditions the students had to deal with in 2019-2020: COVID-19 hit Niger and closed schools 20thMarch to June 1st, 2020

  • Niger continued with the regular Bac exam postponed until August 2020
  • Massive dust storms passed through in May 2020
  • End of August 2020 there was record-level flooding that hit Niamey (868 houses destroyed, including the house of one of our scholarship girls) With the rise in water comes a rise in malaria.

And it continues in 2021 …..

  • Contested elections in February 2021 closed down the schools and cities for about 2 weeks due to protests

    (The government even shut down Internet to stop information being shared especially by those protesting the elitist win)

Imagine how you might deal with any of the 2019-2021 Events when you live in a thatched roof abode or live amid a pile of bricks with no electricity ?`

AND YET … THE RESULTS FROM 2020 - 2021 CONTINUE TO BE AS GOOD AS, OR BETTER

To cite a few examples of striking outcomes :

HABIBA :HER DREAM BRINGS HER BACK TO THE BEGINNING.

Everyone is not a scholar !  Successful outcomes are not always predictable. Habiba is an example of a disappointment transformed into a success story. In 2015 she succeeded her BEPC and decided to continue on to high school, but failed the Bac in 2018 and 2019. At that point, she realized she wasn’t made for academic studies, but had a real passion for sports and repetitively won sports’ competitions. She therefore courageously decided to follow her dream of making sports activities her priority. 

Habiba entered INJS with flying colors :( Institut National de la Jeunesse et du Sport) and was easily accepted to pursue a diploma that will allow her to teach Sports and also continue to compete in outside sports activities. 

Fast forward to 2021, you will see in the accompanying photos,  Habiba completing an internship for her program, teaching Sports Class to boy students at Hampaté Bâ !  Here are her own words:

I have had many emotions in my life, but this is the biggest emotion I have ever felt : To be able to come back and do my internship in Hampaté Ba School, where I studied from the 6th grade through my Senior Year in High School ! My deep thanks to the Association “Les Amis de Hampate Ba” for having believed in me and given me a chance to study at Hampaté Ba Middle School and High School and afterwards, to have let me continue to pursue my dream at INJS.” Habiba even asked to meet the current scholarship students at Hampaté Bâ to share with them how moved she was to come back to Hampaté Bâ for her internship.

To witness the success of our Scholarship Students, in whatever domaine they choose, makes our support even more valuable.

SAADIA :BEST OF THE BEST NOW DELIVERING BABIES 

Contrary to Habiba, Saadia was always academically inclined and top of her class at Hampaté Bâ.  In 2019, this scholarship recipient succeeded the Scientific Bac which is very rare for girls and women in Niger. She then came in #1 out of 41 candidates for the post-Bac entrance exam to enter the highly acclaimed ENSP -National School of Public Health. Quite a feat !  She received a well-deserved full State Scholarship, although due to the total lack of financial support possible from her parents, our Association is backing her transport costs and food, as this top-rated School is very far from where she lives. Saadia is also doing an internship in 2021 in a local hospital, delivering babies and providing mental health services to women. Her reaction is expressed in this message: “Thank you to the Amis de Hampaté Ba, for all your aid and encouragement over the years. As long as blood will flow in my vains, I will continue my efforts. This is my passion, my every dream since I was a child.” Saadia would like to complete her 3 year diploma to be a mid-wife and continue on to get her master degree to specialized in gynecology !  She is certainly not lacking courage!

SIDI : THE DESIRE TO STUDY LAW AND ONLY THE LAW

After getting his BAC in 2019, Sidi was stubborn and decided to try the very competitive exam to get into the highly revered HECF University, allowing him to specialize in Law studies. He not only succeeded in being admitted, but he also won a small scholarship. His fervent desire is to become a judge. His first semester Report Card shows that he is motivated and kicking off his studies in style. He received 15 out of 20 as a grade and a comment of “Good” and “serious student”.  He expresses his gratitude “Thank you to the members of the Association for giving me the chance of a lifetime to go to college and the chance to hopefully practice law“.

THIRD YEAR POST-BEPC MEANS INTERNSHIP

After getting their BEPC diploma from Hampaté Bâ in 2018, 7 girl students preferred to do health assistant studies at ISPH, a Health Institute, rather than to continue  on to High School, as they preferred to have practical experience rather than continue in an academic track only.  After 3 years, each one of these girls is now completing her Health School internship. They are each working in different small, remote villages as “social health workers” for 2 full months. This is a very gruelling experience and a challenge for sure. We asked them to fill out a questionnaire upon their return, and each one replied that they were more enthused than ever after this experience !. They will all pass a State exam in September and if they succeed, they may continue to nursing school in hopes of obtaining a certificate to become a nurse . This is their dream.  They are very grateful for everything they have learned so far and are enthusiastic for their next adventure ! These girls are particularly caring of others and joyful, despite their poor backgrounds. They are focused on serving their community despite the challenges which are omni-present.

Which proves that when there is a will, THERE IS A WAY

Here are some figures to prove that.

  • 100% of the scholarship students in Hampaté Bà Middle and High School are predicted to move up a level according to 2nd semester results 2021, and several are top of their class:

o  A boy scholarship student got the highest grade in Scientific Major at his level (Junior Year of High School)

 o 4 girls in Middle School got 17/20 in Math (among the top grades at their level) 

  • 80% of the scholarship girls at HB who succeeded their BEPC 2020 (Brevet) decided to pursue professional BAC studies to get jobs sooner to help their families and give back to the community (Healthcare, computer management or accounting degrees after 3 years of study, so far with remarkable results)

 o One girl who chose to specialise in accounting at a business school after her BEPC, received “Congratulations from the Jury” in her first semester and is bound to have a promising future.

  • 77% of the scholarship girls in their senior year of HB high school, are predicted to succeed their Baccalaureat 2021 based on mock exams (National average was only 35% for girls in 2020)

 o 2 girls received the most points in Literary Bac category at HB

 o 1 girl received the most points in Scientific Bac track at HB 

The Bac will take place on July 27th this year, so we wish them all the success possible !

o BAC IN HAND, BTS BOUND !

  • 100% of Hampaté Bâ graduate students pursuing Post Bac university studies or vocational training in professional institutes have continued relentlessly their 2 or 3 year cycle and have maintained surprisingly high levels of accomplishment.

o 2 girls have already obtained their BTS in statistiques (advanced vocational training certificate) at a high level institute after 2 years and will obtain professional degrees in September

o 3 girls have completed 3 years at an international business school and will obtain a professional degree in entreprenariat in September

o 7 girls started at ESCAE this year, a well-known business school to study accounting, management and human resources and after 1st semester results, have successfully passed to next level 

A BIG THANK YOU AND LET’S CONTINUE ! 

We can surmise, judging from the incredible and positive results of each student, at all levels, that  the “read and write” remediation program was definitely worth it and has opened many doors and led to many great adventures, They couldn’t have done it without you. We thank you for making a big difference in these needy students’ lives.  Through your donations, you have given them.confidence in themselves and equal opportunities to education and employment that will allow them to give back to their communities and have a brighter future. We welcome any and all donations to keep offering educational opportunities and well being to the students we are sponsoring in Niger. Thank you.

Sports internship, Habiba directing boy students
Sports internship, Habiba directing boy students
Where Habiba lives
Where Habiba lives
SAADIA with medical kit
SAADIA with medical kit
SAADIA using a microscope
SAADIA using a microscope
SIDI studying computer program
SIDI studying computer program
Middle School students with books
Middle School students with books
Business school students, first year
Business school students, first year
Jun 3, 2021

GIRLS GEARING UP TO HELP COMMUNITIES

Saratou is ready for the BAC 2021
Saratou is ready for the BAC 2021

We are very proud!  Thanks to your sponsorship, we are able to offer scholarships to young girls from underprivileged backgrounds to receive a quality education at Hampaté Bâ School Complex in Niamey. This is a real gift ! Our project puts girls first due to their special responsibility to pass on knowledge to future generations. 

Indeed, only 7% of girls in Niger have the opportunity to attend secondary school, and too many adolescent girls are forced to drop out because of financial difficulties, early marriages, and gender bias.

MEETING CHALLENGES THROUGH DIGITAL CONNECTION

To meet some of these drop-out challenges, our Non-Profit, “les Amis de Hampaté Bâ” has a committed team who has worked to create an ICT training program where we can motivate girls to go as far as possible in their academic studies, while simultaneously gaining an understanding of basic computer skills, concepts, attitudes and qualities needed to become agents of effective social change locally and globally. This computer training has helped to expand the girls’ knowledge of the world and strengthen their confidence in finding more easily a job, thus becoming valued providers for their families and capable of improving families’ well-being by generating much needed income. Indeed, these classes can have significant impact on the girls’ economic aspirations. The new computer skills, coupled with education, can inspire girls to increasingly become independent voices in their communities, while also breaking the cycle of poverty and meeting the global challenges of our times.

In spite of big personal challenges and tough times for succeeding exams during the pandemic, the scholarship girls have held on to their dreams and career aspirations with determination, hard work, and hope. However, much courage and patience is required, as success is not always immediate.  Sometimes failure comes before success.

Up until the age of 18, we ensure our scholarship girls are in full time education or vocational training.This helps to pave the way for further education, should that be the direction in which they wish to move.

MEET THE GIRLS

SARATOU’S STORY

Saratou was raised alone by her illiterate mother, as her father died when she was only a few years old. Her mom has very little resources, mainly from selling water, so when Saratou finished primary school, her mom was not able to afford any more schooling for her. Can you imagine not being able to go to school anymore at 12 years old ? Think how different your life would be!  Luckily,  based on her good results, we were able to award her a scholarship to attend Hampaté Bâ Middle School. Saratou was very motivated by her studies, but in spite of remediation classes and her fervent desire to learn, she was penalised by her poor living conditions: no electricity to study at home, no one to help with homework at home, and long walks to get to school every day.

Alas, Saratou did not succeed her Baccalaureate exam and she was far from getting it even if she tried a second time. To remedy this situation, our charity proposed her a 2- year vocational training program majoring in “Computer Programming for Enterprises” which could lead quickly to a professional diploma and a job. Faced with another new challenge, Saratou got discouraged as the computer course was highly specialised and she was lacking tools to be up to level.

We did 2 things to help her:  We were able to offer her an after-school group tutoring class in computer science for a few months and thanks to your support, we also bought her a small, inexpensive, but very useful computer. This solution changed everything for her!  One obviously needs a personal computer for Computer Management courses!  She was able to do homework on her computer and turn in an elaborate Internship Report.  Her grade results started to soar and she is now ready to pass a Professional Baccalauréate. We admire her personal courage to have continued striving to succeed in spite of tackling a new major in a new school.  Thanks to basic computer skills learned at Hampaté Bâ School, furthered by extensive training in specific software programs during 2 years, she will have a profession and be able to help support her mother and  contribute to her community.

FARIDA’S STORY

Farida also represents what can be achieved through your Sponsorship. Farida comes from a very poor family, with 7 brothers and sisters, so her opportunities were limited. She has always dreamed of becoming a mid-wife or gynecologist and has the deep desire to help other women in her community. Her scholarship at Hampaté Bâ School served her well. But In spite of her excellent results year after year, for some unknown reason, she didn’t succeed her Baccalaureate exam on the first try. Even though she was terribly disappointed, she continued to work hard and follow regularly all the remediation courses that we offered her while she re-did a second time the last year of high school courses. Due to her intensive efforts, she succeeded the Bac on her second try, and not only that!  She received a State scholarship to enter a highly reputed medical school and was number 1 on the  entrance test.

As in the case of Saratou, Farida was missing a very essential tool. Indeed, computers are now necessary for medical studies. The professors were giving their courses with drawings, schemas, and photos, all available on USB keys, which she couldnt manage since she did not have a computer, and therefore was penalised in her studies.  Once again, thanks to your support, we were able to purchase a computer for her.

Farida is now a very successful student in her 2nd year of medical studies and is following internships in hospitals to help deliver babies as well as caring for new mothers with difficulties.  She is definitely ready and willing to help her community and also aid her parents who live in poverty. 

EMPOWERING GIRLS

To empower girls and young women, we ensure that education plays a key role. By educating girls – their opportunities as women are broadened. Further education in Niger can be very costly, and traditional beliefs around the role of women in the home, mean girls are not always encouraged or confident enough to pursue the career of their dreams.

By giving adolescent girls the tools they need to improve their own lives, and by engaging them in efforts to improve the well-being of entire families and to uplift their communities, we are promoting the progress of the entire society. We empower girls to stand up for themselves and we help them reach their dreams.

TOOLS NEEDED 

Saratou and Farida are only two examples of how the success of these girls depends on your sponsorship, especially concerning badly needed tools like computers. We wish to thank everyone who is already donating towards scholarships for girls’ vocational training.

DOING YOUR PART

You are doing your part to ensure that more bright minds have the opportunities they deserve — to explore, to grow and eventually to give back. Your belief in these girls and your caring makes all the difference. Now students dont have to give up, thanks to YOU !  With access to opportunity, girls CAN succeed!

In order to help girls fulfill their career dreams and aspirations, we welcome sponsorship of our girl empowerment projects.  Will you give today to ensure education doesn’t stop for these girls in need?

Thank you!

Saratou with her new tool
Saratou with her new tool
Internship report typed with new computer
Internship report typed with new computer
Middle school student using Word to format a text
Middle school student using Word to format a text
Farida first day at Medical school
Farida first day at Medical school
Farida in the lab using a microscope
Farida in the lab using a microscope
Feb 5, 2021

A NEW YEAR, A NEW DAWN

Ready for the New Dawn!
Ready for the New Dawn!

This year our Association’s goals are basically the same as for the last 12 years :  

Supporting underprivileged children in Niger to go to school and gain key skills to succeed in life.

So what about the new Year ?

As time goes by, our projects remain stable, but the outcome of repeatedly improving the quality of education for our students at Hampaté Bâ School is becoming more evident each year. Those “children” who had reading and writing deficiencies in 6th grade  have now grown up and are successfully completing their secondary school education. Moreover, with this new year, we see that many of those who succeeded their Baccalaureate in prior years, are now attending Higher Education Universities and Professional Institutes. (Business Schools, Accounting and Financial Schools, Health Institutes, Technology Institutes, etc.)They are now the role models for our students presenting their Bac this new year. 

What is the new Dawn ?

Improved learning conditions, textbooks, and tutoring at Hampaté Bâ School have drastically reduced the drop-out rates and have given amazing results. 

Students who were struggling before, especially girls, have been turned into confident above average achievers!  They have not only been brought up to level, but they are surpassing all expectations and are among the highest achievers in their class. In fact, inspired by tutoring classes, many of our girls are excelling in scientific studies and dreaming of brilliant careers. 

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Each year on February 11th, the United Nations marks the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Its a chance to reflect on how the situation has improved for women working in the fields of science.

Here are what some of our girl students presenting the Scientific Bac 2020 have to say :

Nafissa comments: “I love studies in physics and chemistry and everyone thinks it is strange for a girl to be interested in these subjects, but I am so Impassioned by these subject matters and definitely aim to have a job in technology or engineering.”

Saratou is keen on math. “My absolute passion is maths. What I really want to explore is the field of biomathematics and I am ready to  participate in as many local and international conferences as possible that are relevant to my field of study. I want to learn about opportunities for research grants and am excited to meet the challenge.”

Aminatou wants to help in medical research for Covid 19. “I think the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring girls in science. I really want to be participate in leading actions for innovation in this domain.”  

Our efforts to support underprivileged boys and girls and give them equal opportunities for education, seem to have given birth to unexpected, outstanding results.
Your continued donations will help us keep the momentum going and give these students a chance for a better future.
You can make the difference ! Thank you!
 
Middle school girls: Happy for back to school
Middle school girls: Happy for back to school
So grateful for books
So grateful for books
Candidates for BAC 2021
Candidates for BAC 2021
Thank goodness for books to prepare the BAC
Thank goodness for books to prepare the BAC
The scientific girls
The scientific girls
High school back to school
High school back to school
 
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