Education  Niger Project #23950

Bring Lights, Books and Computers to Niger

by Rain for the Sahel and Sahara
Bring Lights, Books and Computers to Niger
Bring Lights, Books and Computers to Niger
Bring Lights, Books and Computers to Niger
Bring Lights, Books and Computers to Niger
Bring Lights, Books and Computers to Niger
Bring Lights, Books and Computers to Niger

Imagine if you’d had to leave school at 5th grade. Think how different your life would be.

For many Nigeriens, this is the best case scenario.

Young Nigeriens from rural areas rarely have the opportunity to attend middle school. Almost no one has a local middle school in their village! Now students don’t have to give up – thanks to YOU. Since 2013, you have given students a chance through the Agadez Learning Center.

The situation is not hopeless. With access to opportunity, kids succeed.

 

Maoude is a powerful case in point!

Will you give today to help ensure education doesn't stop at 5th grade?

Maoude grew up outside a small village in rural Niger. His opportunities were limited. Fortunately, Maoude was one of the first students at the learning center and in 2016, after completing middle school, you gave him the chance to go to high school.

Already, his story was a success. But Maoude went on to do more.

This fall, Maoude began his freshman year at the University of Agadez where he is studying Biology and Environmental Studies. Maoude and his friend, Alabouri, also an ALC graduate, are the ONLY TWO Wodaabe Fulani students at the university. Without you, they would not have made it there at all.

Thank you for giving Maoude the chance of a lifetime to go to college.

Now, Maoude is following in your footsteps. Last month, Maoude joined several recruitment trips to help more Wodaabe Fulani students to access secondary school.

Maoude represents what can be achieved through your partnership. He is doing his part to ensure more bright minds have the opportunities they deserve – to explore, to grow, and eventually to give back.

You believe in these kids – You care, and it makes all the difference.

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Larry Cassidy RPCV
Larry Cassidy RPCV

In 1963 Larry was in the 2nd delegation of Peace Corps Volunteers in Niger (Pictured in the center on the steps of "La Presidence" -the president's residence).

Larry saw the need in Niger first hand.

56 years later that impression has stuck with him.

This experience is part of why Larry is a RAINMaker - a monthly donor. His recurring donation ensures there's never a season Nigeriens go without.

Last month Larry was moved by the story of Issoufou, a home-stay student from the middle school mentoring program who was profiled in our last newsletter. Along with his check for September he wrote a letter to Issoufou. Larry dusted off his French for the letter and with his go-ahead a rough translation is below:

 

My dear young man, Issoufou,

This very day, I learned your name and I also understand that you are starting your second year at your school.

I decided to write to you only to offer you my very good wishes - I am sure that this year offers you many joys and academic growth.

My friends call me Larry, and I'm 80 years old! You see I have very little hair left! (Larry drew a smiley face with 3 hairs).

(and my French is lacking too). I am American but I worked in Niger from 1963-1964, 55 years ago and then some.

Issoufou, young man, I want us to be partners. Buddies, from this day on. You, you learn at your school, and you seek out success and joy wherever they are to be found, and me, I'll keep your name in my prayers. Every day.

I'm happy to know your name.

     Sincerely,

     Larry Cassidy

 

Your support means so much to students like Issoufou, who wouldn't otherwise have access to middle school.  

Issoufou’s ability to attend school will determine his ability to provide for himself in the future. Traditionally, those with physical handicaps were left to beg – being unable to participate in Niger’s economy, which relied heavily on manual labor. Going to school gives Issoufou opportunities beyond that. The ability to pursue an education shows Issoufou, his peers, and others in his community that school and the knowledge acquired there is more than theoretical, it can be practical. It can be a means to survive.  Issoufou's story has touched many and Larry's response touched us at RAIN.  We hope you will join Larry and help close the opportunity gap for students like Issoufou!

Issoufou
Issoufou
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Issoufou
Issoufou

Issoufou’s family lives far from school. His village, Tchilizdag, has a struggling elementary school with rapid staff turnover and poor oversight. Many parents are frustrated -- they are interested in sending their children to school, but there are few success stories. Even in this environment, Issoufou has succeeded academically. This is truly a testament to Issoufou’s desire to learn because he has also needed to overcome his physical handicaps – he has a hunchback and disabled left foot.

With his condition, the distance (25km) may have kept his parents from sending him away for middle school, but knowing that Issoufou has a homestay and support system, the family was happy for him to continue to middle school. Issoufou, now a 7th grade student, says he is “very happy to have a home-stay that helped me to study in middle school this year.” This is an exciting opportunity for Issoufou whose parents “do what they can to earn money but… are very poor. They try to work in other people’s gardens or herd goats for neighbors for small payments.”

They are hoping Issoufou will have more options than they do.

Issoufou faced an additional challenge this term. Throughout his schooling, a close friend had always carried his books and defended Issoufou from unkind peers. When his friend dropped out of school, Issoufou threatened to quit school as well. He felt abandoned and worried that the other children would not treat him well. His parents, the local marabout, and his mentor were able to convince him to stay in school.  Issoufou's community supported him when he had doubts and RAIN's programs made it possible for him to continue his education.  You are a part of RAIN's community.  Thank you for standing with us and supporting students like Issoufou.

Issoufou’s ability to attend school will determine his ability to provide for himself in the future. Traditionally, those with physical handicaps were left to beg – being unable to participate in Niger’s economy, which relied heavily on manual labor. Going to school gives Issoufou opportunities beyond that. The ability to pursue an education shows Issoufou, his peers, and others in his community that school and the knowledge acquired there is more than theoretical, it can be practical. It can be a means to survive.

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Hadi
Hadi

Hadi Attaher is an 8th grade student at Rain for the Sahel and Sahara's Agadez Learning Center (ALC). She comes from a small village where her younger siblings are enrolled in elementary school. Her older sister dropped out after elementary school, leaving Hadi to attend middle school alone. She explains that coming to the ALC was, “the first time I saw all these beautiful and wonderful things like the city lit by electricity as if it was daylight… vegetables sold year-round in the market, middle schools, hospitals & health centers, people who are not only Tuareg…”

Continuing on to Middle School was necessary to pursue her goals: “My wish is to be a teacher… because I would like to help children in my village to have a better future, and for the development of our town, and for our youth who are, at the moment, left far behind.” This goals is particularly meaningful for Hadi, having left her siblings in her home village with her father, who had worked for the Imouraren Mining Company, but who is now unemployed.

RAIN students and their mentors are changing the ways that communities in Niger think about education. Thank you for leading the way in changing how communities here think about Niger.

Your support helps students, like Hadi, receive an education and an opportunity to provide for themselves in the future.

Thank you for believing in their potential.

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This is my first time writing this letter to you. As I do so, I’m filled with both trepidation and hope. Your support has accomplished so much in the last 17 years, yet there is so much more to do.

           Thank you for bringing opportunity to Niger – the opportunity for children to attend school, the opportunity for women to earn their own income, and the opportunity for communities to feed themselves, because without food and water, nothing else matters. These students, entrepreneurs, herders, and farmers are all willing to put in the work, but without you, the opportunities would not exist.

By giving today, you can make a difference.

Last year, the pilot middle school program helped 100% of graduating students to pass their year-end national exam. This fall, you can expand the reach of women mentors to two new middle schools in communities that have never had local access to middle schools. This is an incredible opportunity to support national expansion of education services. They need your support to ensure a successful first year!

When I heard I passed the elementary school exam and could continue to middle school, my mother and I worried about how I could pursue my studies... [Your support] allowed me to… purchase a uniform, and pay school fees. [It] has helped me to study in peace and turn my full attention to school.
- Assalama Alhassane, 7th grader, Aouderas Middle School

Last year, the community gardens produced 3x the crops and 5x the profit of the year before. This winter, you can help dig two new wells so there’s enough safe drinking water to go around and to support the expansion of two community gardens.  

It is impossible to do well in school or to work a full day when the water you need to survive makes you sick. Access to water also increases access to safe and nutritious food. YOU can help these communities fight thirst, fight hunger, fight for survival.

The rural and nomadic children, women, and families of Niger are willing to work, but first, they need you to make these opportunities a reality.

If you give by January 31st, your gift can help construct 2 new classrooms and a much needed solar-powered study hall for our Agadez Learning Center middle schoolers! One of their favorite things about the center is the electricity, allowing them to “study in the dark.” 9th grade student Hadi says, “normally, when the sun goes down we have to stop studying because there is no light.” Imagine – the only thing holding a student back from success might be their ability to keep studying after sundown.

 - Katherine Kolios, Exectutive Director.

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Organization Information

Rain for the Sahel and Sahara

Location: Portsmouth, New Hampshire - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @rain4sahara
Project Leader:
Jacob Dolan-Bath
Portsmouth, New Hampshire United States
$1,481 raised of $5,000 goal
 
56 donations
$3,519 to go
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