Update from our Mentors: Educators as Mothers

Your donations are doing more than changing lives; they are changing opinions about the importance of a girl’s education. One of the biggest challenges our mentors face is convincing parents -- most of whom have never been to school -- of the importance of education, and that attending school is beneficial for both the child and the family.

I meet with parents to explain my work to them and convince them to allow me to work with their children. For some parents, it is only after many conversations about the importance of education that they come to understand my role in the community.  Mentor Zeinabou Djibo

Your continued support has allowed this unique program to thrive. In addition to supporting students and teaching them about hygiene, health, and nutrition; mentors pass on traditional artisan skills such as weaving, basket making, and pottery; preserving a culture that is thousands of years old. Mentors also speak to entire communities about the benefits of education, which earns mentors respect and gives them a voice within their communities that they use to reach far beyond classroom walls.

I raise awareness on different themes with my students’ parents, my neighbors and my friends. If we take the example of young girls, I try to raise awareness by saying that no one should give girls who are in elementary school off to marry. These girls have not even reached the age of puberty yet. I also speak with the young men to encourage them not to marry young girls. One example I give is that if a girl that is too young to be married [then] marries a boy, as soon as she becomes pregnant she will have difficulty giving birth. A young girl’s body cannot support a pregnancy or giving birth. Mentor Addajhjat Anasbagor                                                  
           
Right now is one of the most exciting times of year for our mentors, who are meeting with their students and preparing them for the start of the school year. They are also looking for new students to replace last year’s graduates, giving precedence to especially vulnerable girls who would most benefit from the program. Thank you for helping mentors fulfill their mission of bringing education to rural and nomadic children living in extreme poverty in Niger today.
 
This program is really thinking about mothers as educators. When a mother becomes a mentor to other children, we show that we are mothers for all of the children that we look after… Us mothers work together.   -Assolo Sidi

 


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