Nov 18, 2019

WHAT HAS BECOME OF OUR HAMPATE BA GRADUATES?

High school students preparing for BAC 2020
High school students preparing for BAC 2020

The Challenge  Financing education for youngsters in Niger is a wonderful idea, but we have witnessed over our 10 year experience, that it isn’t satisfactory to just fill classrooms with students who are learning virtually nothing due to the low level of teaching.

The Obstacles  Many underprivileged students at Hampaté Bâ Secondary School were struggling, since French, the language of instruction, was not spoken at home with their illiterate parents. We realized very quickly that the big challenge was to improve the quality of education, reduce the dropout rate, and break the poverty cycle. 

Not an easy task.

The Solution   Nevertheless, we were daring !  Back in 2011, we decided to improve learning conditions by providing an after-school tutoring program, textbooks for all to take home, and hands-on specialized training for teachers so they could bring underachievers up to level in spite of their weak skills in reading and writing. 

Long-Term Impact  We were also hopeful that quality education would eventually turn struggling students, especially girls, into confident above average achievers. Did it work ?

Tutoring Program is Paying off !  Today we can proudly announce to you that our remediation classes spearheaded by dynamic professionals did work, slowly but surely. We intend to keep up this effort and make intensive tutoring one of our main goals, as it has proved to be a major key to our students’ success.

Diplomas and Sweet Success !  Getting the BEPC diploma after 4 years in Middle School and/or getting the BAC diploma after 3 more years in High School was a revolution. In many cases, our underprivileged students were the first in their family to go to school. 

The diplomas not only unlocked doors and allowed students to continue with superior  education, universities or professional training, but it created the ripple effect and inspired others. When students saw that their friends from low-income families were able to succeed in getting diplomas, they tried too! Our first BAC graduates were in 2018 and we had even more in 2019. It’s quite amazing to see these students who came from such poor backgrounds evolve in such an impressive way. Today, thanks to the trained tutors who reinforced their capacities,  these disadvantaged students, despite coming from families without an education, were able to adjust to new challenges, be admitted to prestigious schools and hopefully move on to become young leaders.

What happened to these students after getting their diplomas ? We set up an ambitious plan to help these students from low-income families get ready for superior education or professional training schools.  Just look where they are now !  Here are some examples of schools they were admitted to after they passed exams and sent in their applications with the help of our school counsellor : 

Graduates with BEPC Diploma : 

  • Aichatou : Nursing School
  • Farida : Pharmacy Vendor
  • Amina : Computer Programming School
  • Roumana :  National Institute of Sports (to become sports teacher)

Graduates with BAC Diploma  

  • Hafsa : Business University to become lawyer  
  • Haoua : Business University to work at NGO  
  • Mariamou : Business University to become business Lawyer
  • Fadiza : Computer and Management School to get BTS diploma
  • Nassia :  National Public Health School to become gynecologist
  • Abdoul : National University for Magistrat 
  • Zalika : Financial and Law School specialized in work with statistics 

These individual success stories make a big difference in the community. The students followed trained tutors at Hampaté Bâ School who took the lead in helping underachieving students to increase their level. The students felt there was support and that gave them hope.  Their path is very uplifting. 

Thank you so much for your continued support of this incredible tutoring program.  We appreciate your faithful help of young people in Niger who would not have a chance for a better future without your donations. THANK YOU !

Active Nursing school trainee in new uniform
Active Nursing school trainee in new uniform
First student hired, working in a pharmacy
First student hired, working in a pharmacy
Roumana will become sports teacher
Roumana will become sports teacher
Fadiza & Amina joyous 1st day of computer school
Fadiza & Amina joyous 1st day of computer school
Proud second year finance school students
Proud second year finance school students
Hafsa giving speech at business university
Hafsa giving speech at business university
Nassia at health school to become gynecologist
Nassia at health school to become gynecologist
First day at Business University for Haoua
First day at Business University for Haoua
Nov 8, 2019

BACK TO SCHOOL for GIRLS!

New girls entering 6th grade
New girls entering 6th grade

October was a very happy time for our scholarship girls. It’s « Back to School » time !

Thanks to your donations to pay for their school fees, 33 jubilant girl students, old and new, will have the gift of an education at Hampaté Bâ Secondary school this year, rather than be obliged to stay at home doing housework or destined to the plight of an early marriage. In this article, we are focussing on the new girls.

Zoom on New Scholarship Recipients : This year we are proud to add 5 new underprivileged girls in Middle School at 6th grade level, some of whom are orphans and adopted by an aunt, uncle or grandparent. These particular girls would not have access to Middle School without our help, as the families cannot afford secondary education for them.  The girls were busy revising all summer as they were eager to be admitted to our innovative Hampaté Bâ School.  

How were the girls selected ? They passed an academic entrance test at the end of August. The school had to do quite a few batches of exams, since the level of those seeking admission was so low, that we had a hard time finding candidates with an adequate level. Many were not even able to copy a text or to write their name. After finding a small number of girls who passed the academic requirements, in September we called in an educational expert who interviewed each girl privately along with members of her family (who were all illiterate). We wanted to be sure of each girl’s capacities to express herself, her motivation and eagerness to learn, and the willingness of her family members to give moral support and to help with housework chores so the girls would have sufficient time for homework. The selection finally gave positive results and we were able to identify 5 highly motivated girls to whom we have granted scholarships.  We are proud to announce that after one month, these girls are already among the best in their classes, in all subjects ! That’s a great proof of what a difference encouragement and enthusiastic support can make !

Stories of Moms : We were very moved by the stories recounted by some of the mothers. 

« I was not able to stay in secondary school because my family had no money and girls didn’t matter. I had to drop out in 6th grade and was forced to marry at 12 years old. I regret it to this day. »

« I want a better life for my daughter, since I was sent to a family far from Niamey, as my parents had no money to keep me with them. Girls didn’t count. I never found a job and cannot offer today a decent life to Nassia » mentioned her mother.   

These mothers’ words inspire us and remind us that as much as possible, we must continue to provide quality educational opportunities to the many girls and young women who desire a better future for their families and their country. 

More than just School Fees : What are advantages to supporting  Scholarships for a girl at Hampate Ba School ? Many of these disadvantaged girls live too far from Hampate Ba School to walk. So we have decided that transport fees will be paid for by our donors. This helps them to get to school on time and be less fatigued for their school courses. In addition, the girls will have the advantage of optional art courses once a week after school to develop imagination and various spatial skills, also possible thanks to your donations.   We are able to offer computer classes and a well equipped Media Room also, which can give an advantage to our girls in landing a job later on. And finally, the girls will have the advantage of learning in smaller classes of 45 students, rather than the public school classes with 100 students per class (where learning does not take place).  

We saw the need in Niger first-hand during our trips. But here are the hard facts. Niger is one of, if not the poorest country in the world and only 9% of girls attend middle school and just 3% go on to high school. In Niger, approximately 65% of girls are married before the age of 18 and 1/3 before the age of 15. However, in girls who have a secondary education, only 18% marry before the age of 18.

HOPE    Our sincere hope is that these new girl students will learn at secondary  offers them many joys and academic growth at Hampaté Bâ School. 

Your continued support is needed and appreciated

Last year, as a result of your gifts to the scholarship fund for girls, around 30 girls were able to attend Hampaté Bâ Secondary School. Thank you !

This would not have been possible without your kind donations. Your gift of secondary school education to young underprivileged girls will have long-standing effects on the girl, her family, and her community. Keeping girls in school and building their skills reduces child marriage and also increases economic productivity,  We look forward to keeping you updated about the many ways your support is changing young girls’ lives in Niger. Thank you for your generosity and continued support.  All amounts are welcome. Every donation counts !

First day of Middle School for new 6th Graders
First day of Middle School for new 6th Graders
New girls showing off local costumes
New girls showing off local costumes
Group of Scholarship Girl Recipients
Group of Scholarship Girl Recipients
Hopeful candidates for Baccalaureate 2020
Hopeful candidates for Baccalaureate 2020
Aug 20, 2019

10 YEARS OF ADVENTURE

Happy students!
Happy students!

It all started back in 2009. 10 years ago. What a marvelous adventure!

 

In the beginning …

We founded our non-profit organization,  « les Amis de Hampaté Bâ », to support an amazing pedagogical project initiated by our good friend Homa K. at an amazing school, Hampaté Bâ Middle School in Niamey.   Our hope along with Homa was to improve the quality of education with special teacher training and help reduce the dropout rate of underprivileged secondary pupils with reading and writing deficiencies through tutoring programs.

 

Our beliefs stronger than the Challenge 

We believed in the importance of equal access to education and opportunity for all students, no matter their economic background. But this was indeed a big challenge to tackle: to improve the results of Nigerien children with illiterate parents and several years behind in their academic level upon entering secondary school.  Another problem : the parents could not afford to pay for secondary education. So we decided to sponsor scholarships to put deserving underprivileged youth in Hampaté Bâ Secondary school, our most difficult goal being to bring these underachievers up to level and to keep them in school!  

 

A Wild Adventure 

After 10 years, we can honestly say it has been a wild adventure for the students and teachers and for us too.  We had to adapt to each other, valuing mutual respect and the giving and sharing of knowledge and skills. The students learned from our projects and we learned from the students; their hopes, their difficulties, their desires.  Tutoring programs were implemented little by little and were first met with resistance both by the students and the parents and even by some teachers, who thought the struggling students would never make it.  But acquiring reading and writing skills was a « must » to turn these students into confident above average achievers.  We remained believers and kept going !

 

Stepping from Middle School to High School 

As the tutoring program became more intensified with technology in our computer room used to improve reading and writing skills, and as the teachers became more at ease in small groups with the students, the students themselves became more confident and more motivated and liked getting better results on their exams. They became proud and when the Hampaté Bâ High School opened in 2015, many of our scholarship students were admitted.  In 2018, three years later, we had our first High School Graduates!

 

Dreams that have become Reality

Hampaté Bâ’s reading and writing program has led to marvelous discoveries and success stories that were once dreams, and are now actually coming true.  Our students have worked hard and have been courageous. Due to their success in the Brevet (BEPC) exam and the Baccaulaureat, those who succeeded will have an opportunity to attend professional Institutes for specialized training and studies or universities for higher education.  This is their dream come true!

Our Impact is Real 

We are proud to share with you the 2019 Nigerien test results of our scholarship students: CONGRATULATIONS !

 

The 2019 BAC : 55.50% success rate for our students

(compared to Niger’s national average of 25% : 1 student out of 4)

 

The 2019 BEPC : 62.50% success rate for our students

(compared to the average of 33.5% in the region of Niamey)

 

A Bright Future  

We wanted more than anything to help struggling underprivileged boys and girls to catch up on literacy skills and to give them a brighter future, and that future has come !  The quality education you have offered them will inevitably lead to a quality employment.  As I am writing, our graduate students are applying to universities and professional institutes to follow fiscal, accounting, business, law, ONG, engineering, health and gynecological careers. The majority have already been accepted and some with scholarships. The success of our students inspires us and reminds us that we must continue to provide quality educational opportunities to these worthy underserved students who desire a better future for their families and their country. 

 

Breaking News : Our first student to land a job !

Our student, Hamsatou, who chose to attend a health institute after her BEPC, was the best in her class and has been hired by the biggest pharmacy in Niamey as an assistant pharmacian. Her perseverance in mastering reading and writing skills paid off! Bravo!   

 

It’s not over. We must continue!Many young students from impoverished and illiterate backgrounds were able to attend secondary school thanks to you! This would not have been possible without your kindness and generosity. Niger is one of, if not the poorest countries in the world and only 6% of girls and 9% of boys attend middle school and just 3% go on to high school. We look forward to keeping you updated about the many ways your support is changing young lives in Niger. Your gift of secondary school education to these students will have long-standing effects on the students, their families and their community. THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROUS DONATIONS!   

 

Concentrated on writing
Concentrated on writing
Learning how to write on computers
Learning how to write on computers
A week full of activities
A week full of activities
In library to read books
In library to read books
First BEPC recipients to go to new high school
First BEPC recipients to go to new high school
Tutoring outside
Tutoring outside
Innovative pedagogy: working in groups
Innovative pedagogy: working in groups
 
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