Anywhere in the world a new school year can bring up a mix of excitement and nerves. In Niger it’s no different. Many of our rural and nomadic students are the first in their family, or even community to have the opportunity to pursue their education. They are eager to learn, but there is still a tension as they consider the long commutes on foot, the cost of school books and the challenge of studying topics that their parents never studied in a language that their family doesn’t speak. Still they persist.
Hadiza is a middle school student from Arlit. She visited her cousin, Ounmou, in the town where her cousin was to be married. Ounmou was engaged but desperately wanted to continue her studies. With the support of her RAIN mentor, Ounmou was able to arrange to delay her marriage while she completed her studies. Hadiza was struck by Ounmou’s insistence on continuing her education, when she was considering whether she’d return as well.
Ounmou’s choices made an impression on Hadiza and encouraged her to stay in school as well.