The challenges of running a middle school are universal.
Mariama is the headmistress of a middle school in the midst of rural of Niger (see previous blog post). Special education programs do not exist in Niger, so students with special needs and difficulties attend classes with traditional students. Mariama has developed a deep passion and heart for the education of these children.
This week at dinner, Mariama told spoke of a young boy with mental challenges who attends her middle school.
This boy attended class day-after-day, continuing even after his father died and he officially became an orphan.
One day during a break, he entered Mariama’s office with tear-filled eyes, admitting to her his desperate hunger. With no hesitation, Mariama handed him her own money to purchase lunch. She proceeded to care for him in this way each day.
When he didn’t pass the middle school exit exam at the end of the year, Mariama insisted he come back to school the next school year and try again.
When this boy failed the exam again, after another year of schooling, Mariama maintained her personal attention to the child by counseling him to attend a vocational school.
This summer, two years later, the boy came to Mariama’s home to share with her about his experience in vocational school, where he is learning to repair refrigerators.
Coincidentally, Mariama’s refrigerator was not working well that day. The boy proudly and successfully repaired it on his own.