January 2013 – Niger, West Africa: In Niger, only 10% of rural and nomadic girls attend school, acheiving an average of only three years of education. Boys are only marginally ahead — they attend an average of four years of school. “Higher education” in Niger means continuing beyond elementary school.
Originally a project of the non-profit organization Turtle Will, RAIN has been entrusted with a dormitory complex in the northern nomdaic city of Agadez. There, 34 children — those earning the highest grades from 12 nomadic villages — are given the opportunity to go on to middle school, high school and beyond. The students are provided with a place to live, meals, scholarships, school supplies and tutoring.
On-site classrooms provide space for tutoring sessions with teachers, as well as group study. Future plans include a market garden, which will serve as a living classroom for students to learn agricultural skills while improving nutrition by providing fresh vegetables. RAIN also plans to initiate a mentoring program to help guide the students during this time away from their homes and villages.
This newest partnership between RAIN and nomadic parents will help foster a new generation of future leaders and professionals in Niger. The students are excelling, and with the help of our supporters and friends, RAIN intends to see them through as far as their skill and hard work will take them.