"When I met Zeinabou she was not interested in school. Each morning she left her house, telling her parents she was going to school - but it was a lie. Now, thanks to my counseling, she has changed a lot. She likes school and enjoys learning to knit with me." - Fatimatou Silimane with her student Zeinabou Takar
The literacy rate for nomadic people in Niger is less than 15%, and is even lower for girls. Girls especially face cultural and financial obstacles to staying in primary school, such as early marriage and the need to help at home. Those who do attend often drop out after only three years. RAIN’s mentoring program offers solutions to these obstacles. Based on the long standing nomadic tradition of women educating their children, RAIN recruits local women as mentors, encouraging at-risk girls to succeed in school and advocating with their families and teachers. Walking miles to meet with their students, mentors counsel in life choices and teach valuable practical skills, committed to providing the new generation of girls the opportunities they never had. Over the years, mentored girls have consistently succeeded in greater numbers than their peers, and several communities are seeing girls graduate primary school for the first time. Above, the first group of mentors in Arlit. At left and below, a girl learning practical skills.
"RAIN's mentoring program is very strong....the commitment of the mentors, who sometimes walk up to seven kilometers to meet with the girls, is remarkable." - Lisa Kays, Aurora Associates International, and Stephanie Psaki, AED.
Most nomadic students live miles away from the nearest secondary school, but the Agadez Learning Center (ALC) is changing that - providing access to secondary education for girls and boys (ages 13-17) who would not otherwise have the chance to attend. Located in the city of Agadez, the ALC is a safe and nurturing home away from home, a place to live and study with tuition, meals, healthcare and tutoring - a truly unique opportunity for Niger's children to break free of the cycle of poverty.
RAIN for the Sahel and Sahara is a nonprofit 501(c)3 working to make a lasting difference in Africa.