The literacy rate of rural Niger is less than 15%, and girls especially face daunting challenges to staying in school, dropping out before the 4th grade. Most desert rural children are nomadic and must live at school while their parents search for pastureland. Their communities are hundreds of miles away from secondary schools, so even if a child successfully graduates primary school there is no opportunity to go on. Extreme poverty and hardships from droughts compound obstacles to education.
Rural students find new opportunity at our learning center. Located in the Niger city of Agadez, the center and dormitory houses ambitious students from rural desert hamlets. They live, study and receive tuition, meals, and tutoring. Now in its first year, plans for 2014 include a mentoring program, practical skills training, a resource center and more.
Investing in a girl's future is investing in the world's future. Girls that stay in school delay marraige, have fewer children and earn higher incomes. The rural poor of Niger are marginalized, but with more educated citizens will be more empowered. As RAIN expands the center, we expect to set a new precedent in Niger. As girls in our mentoring programs graduate from primary school, they will have an option to continue their studies they would otherwise not have.