Mentoring for At-Risk Nomadic Girls in Rural Niger

by Rain for the Sahel and Sahara
May 27, 2011

Interview with Mrs. Jadatta, Mentor

Mentor Jadatta
Mentor Jadatta

Interview with Mrs. Jadatta, Mentor, Community of Tangoushman

Recently, RAIN Education Coordinator Abdou Amani interviewed some women in the community of Tangoushman to learn about their experiences as mentors in the Mentoring and Scholarship program. The following is an interview with RAIN mentor Jadatta.

Name: Jadatta
Age: 37
Marital Status: Married
Children:  3
Education level: Not literate

RAIN: What motivated you to become a mentor for RAIN?

Jadatta: The RAIN staff and the head of our village explained to us what this program entailed. I understood immediately that the purpose of the program was to help our own children. I am a mother of three children, of which two attend school.

RAIN: Since you have become a mentor, what changes, if any, have you noticed in your life?

Jadatta: I learn something new every day. With each round of the RAIN team in our village, we learn many things, either about the children, or health, or questions relating to the school. That is important. Moreover, I’ve become an asset to my community - before the mentoring program, our children did not regularly attend school and did not practice daily hygiene. This is changing, and I am proud of that.

RAIN: Do you feel that the elimination of illiteracy is important for the mentors?

Jadatta: Yes, of course. The knowledge to read and write is essential, regardless of who you are. If we were without education, it is not because we did not want it, but because we did not have the means to create it.

RAIN: What are your hopes for the children who you are entrusted within the framework of the program?

Jadatta: I hope that they continue their schooling, so that in the future they can grow to be productive individuals for themselves and their community. If our children miss their future, the parents will be the ones to assume responsibility and face the consequences.

RAIN: Are there any conflicts that arise between you and the parents of the students?

Jadatta: There have not been conflicts between us and the parents; this is because we sensitize the parents at the start to our plans for their children. They then can see for themselves what we do, and have the opportunity at any time to engage with their children. If our work was harmful in any way, the children would be the first to express this; however, the children like our company and our councils. As a result, the parents have no reason for objection.

RAIN: How often do you meet with the children who are entrusted to you?

Jadatta: Once a week, every week.

RAIN: Do all the five mentors live in the village of Tangoushman?

Jadatta: Yes. We all were raised in this village, and will remain here for our lifetimes. Every Wednesday, we ask the children to return in the evening so that we can meet. Everyone attends. There are absences only in the event of sickness or disease.

RAIN: What are some challenges you encounter in your mentoring work?

Jadatta: One frequent obstacle is the hour of our meetings with the children, which coincides with our domestic obligations. But we overcome that obstacle and make the sacrifice to always be present. Another challenge is to make food available for the children in the evenings at the school. Some children must travel a few kilometers back to school each evening from home, and at times are fatigued and hungry when they arrive. To address this problem, we are striving to increase the school food supply to offer the children in the evening, in order to ensure full attendance. Another challenge is that certain elderly individuals in the village, who do not yet understand the purpose of education, attempt to discourage parents of the children attending. This problem is presently being addressed by the parent and teacher committee, who plan to organize meetings to increase awareness.

RAIN: What are some of the issues you discuss with the children?

Jadatta: We discuss good health and hygiene, habits of successful students, study guidance, how to behave safely and responsibly, and the importance of respect for others. The school principal guides us with the curriculum, and must be congratulated on working with us tirelessly.

Jadatta and other mentors of Tangoushman
Jadatta and other mentors of Tangoushman
Children of Tangoushman.
Children of Tangoushman.
Students on their long journey back home.
Students on their long journey back home.



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Organization Information

Rain for the Sahel and Sahara

Location: Portsmouth, New Hampshire - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Whitney Fleming
Manager Communications & Projects
Portsmouth, NH United States

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