Here are two personal stories from Gougaram and Iferoune about how the RAIN Mentoring and Scholarship are changing lives.
My name is Ahmed Illias. I am a member of the parent committee at the Iferouāne elementary school. Before the RAIN Mentoring and Scholarship Program, our school had difficulties with student attendance. Twenty percent of students were regularly absent due to sickness, or because illiterate parents did not regard schooling as a priority.
Today, with the RAIN mentoring and scholarship program, the community is aware of the importance of education, and sick students are immediately brought to the health clinic for treatment. We’ve seen attendance rise to 95%, and can testify that this success is a direct result of the support of the mentors. The added value of learning practical skills attracts students and parents alike, because it prepares them for the future with the desire to have a trade, and to take part in the development of our country.
On behalf our community, and particularly our students, I would like to thank RAIN and the individuals who support RAIN.
My name is Fatimata Rhissa. I am the mother of Amina Souleymane, a student at the Gougaram school. She is my only child and all I have in the world. I am divorced, and my former husband left the country some years ago to find work. I engage in small income generating activities to provide for our needs, and those of my parents. I offer plait braiding in downtown Arlit to many visitors who travel near our encampment. But with the conflict and the displacement that comes with it, my work has not been generating income. We have suffered much hardship.
Before the mentoring program came to our community, I did not want my daughter to attend school. I thought she should be at home to help me with domestic tasks and to keep our goats. After meetings with the RAIN mentors, I become more sensitized to the importance of bringing my daughter to school instead of having her stay at home. With the practical skills she has been learning, I now have confidence in my daughter, who is already starting to embroider. I can say that my daughter is thankful for the skills training and the counsel of the mentors, who now have a primary role in preparing her for the future.