Dambouki Ibrihim lives his life in Niger as a herder in the Tuareg tradition. Each year, he, along with his wife and four children, follow pastures through the seasons for his camels, goats and sheep. It's not an easy life. In a good year, water is scarce, and greenpasture even scarcer. In a bad year, a herder such as Dambouki could lose everything.
2010 was one of those years. Intense drought caused scarce pasture to disappear completely. Feeding centers dotted throughout the desert may have had cottonseed for the animals - but sky high prices made it out of reach.
Dambouki was standing at the precipice of survival. A family's livestock represents all they have - their means of transport, livelihoods, and food. Dambouki watched his animals grow weaker daily, pushing his family closer to the brink.
Then he heard about RAIN. He learned that an animal feed center in his region of Arlit was selling animal feed at cost, and in many cases, donating feed to nomadic herders. He traveled miles to purchase the feed he needed to get his animals through the season at cost.
Says Dambouki: "RAIN saved the lives of my animals, and saved my family from great hardship. I've even decided to send my daughter to school, since I have such confidence in RAIN." At left, Dambouki with his children.
Every day, nomadic families in Niger face extreme hardships with little or no assistance from the outside world. RAIN has forged a unique partnership with nomadic communities to not just survive in their desert world, but thrive.
Rain, in the Sahel and Sahara, is a treasure. It is awaited and prayed for. Literally, it causes crops and pastureland to grow, fills wells with water. Symbolically, it is the source of water, food and livelihoods - all that is needed to survive in the arid desert. The best known motto of the Tuareg people of Niger is Aman Iman, "Water is Life."
The well is the symbol of RAIN's logo and the embodiment of our goal to bring new life to the Sahel and Sahara. When you support RAIN, you dig a well of hope in the sands, tapping into the sparkling promise hiding underneath.
For more information about Niger, visit Niger Facts
For more information about RAIN's work in Niger, visit Our Work
RAIN for the Sahel and Sahara is a nonprofit 501(c)3 working to make a lasting difference in Africa.