An Interview with Mrs. Jadatta - Mentor

Name: Mrs. Jadatta
Community: Tangoushman

Age: 37 

Marital Status: Married

Children:  3 

Education level: Not literate

RAIN: What motivated you to become a mentor? 

Mrs. Jadatta: The RAIN staff and the head of our village explained what this program entailed. I understood immediately that the purpose of the program was to help our own children. I am a mother of three children, of which two attend school. 

Jadatta training with fellow mentors.Jadatta training with fellow mentors.

RAIN: Since you have become a mentor, what changes, if any, have you noticed in your life? 

Mrs. Jadatta: I learn something new every day. With each round of the RAIN team, we learn many things - either about the children, or health, or questions relating to the school. That is important. Moreover, I’ve become an asset to my community - before the mentoring program, our children did not regularly attend school and did not practice daily hygiene. This is changing, and I am proud of that.

RAIN: Do you feel that the elimination of illiteracy is important for the mentors?

Mrs. Jadatta: Yes, of course. The knowledge to read and write is essential, regardless of who you are. If we were without education, it is not because we did not want it, but because we did not have the means to create it. 

RAIN: What are your hopes for the children in the program?

Mrs. Jadatta: I hope that they continue their schooling, so that in the future they can grow to be productive individuals for themselves and their community. If our children miss their future, the parents will be the ones to assume responsibility and face the consequences. 

RAIN: Have any conflicts emerged between the mentors and parents? 

Children of TangoushmanChildren of TangoushmanMrs. Jadatta: There have not been conflicts between mentors and the parents; this is because we sensitize the parents at the start to our plans for their children. They then can see for themselves what we do, and have the opportunity at any time to engage with their children. If our work was harmful in any way, the children would be the first to express this; however, the children like our company and our council. As a result, the parents have no reason for objection. 

RAIN: How often do you meet with your mentored students? 

Mrs. Jadatta: Once a week, every week. 

RAIN: Do all of the five mentors live in the village of Tangoushman?

Mrs. Jadatta: Yes. We all were raised in this village, and will remain here for our lifetimes. Every Wednesday, we ask the children to return in the evening so that we can meet. Everyone attends. There are absences only in the event of sickness or disease. 

RAIN: Can you share some challenges you encounter in your mentoring work? 

Mrs. Jadatta: One frequent obstacle is the hour of our meetings with the children, which coincides with our domestic obligations. But we overcome that obstacle, and make the sacrifice to always be present. Another challenge is that certain elderly individuals in the village, who do not yet understand the purpose of education, attempt to discourage parents of the children attending. This problem is presently being addressed by the parent and teacher committee, who plan to organize meetings to increase awareness.

RAIN: What are some of the issues you discuss with the children? 

Mrs. Jadatta: We discuss good health and hygiene, habits of successful students, study guidance, how to behave safely and responsibly, and the importance of respect for others. The school director guides us with the curriculum, and must be congratulated on working with us tirelessly. 

Students start the long journey home.Students start the long journey home.

Tuareg men from the Aïr region spend 5-7 months each year on camel caravans, traveling to Bilma for dates and salt, and then to Kano to trade them for millet and other foodstuffs, household tools, and luxury items such as spices, perfume, and cloth.
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