I met a friend for coffee the morning after I returned from my month-long trip to Niger in February. While I was bleary-eyed from being so tired and jet lagged, it was difficult to contain my enthusiasm for how well the trip went. In fact, I was quick to say, “It was definitely my best visit yet!” Over a month later, I still feel that way. The reasons are many and varied from staying healthy for the entire trip to deepening my relationships with the students and teachers. However, I believe the main reason my visit to Niger was so successful was I witnessed the positive results of last year’s efforts.
Thanks to your generosity and help, 2010 was filled with big achievements, many of which are coming to fruition now:
- Over forty students were supported through our student scholarship program.
- A food program was fully funded at each of the three schools. In 2010, Niger faced one of its worst food crises in its history with almost half the population – or 7.3 million people – in desperate need of food. Remember Niger responded to the crisis by raising money for a program to ensure that the most needy children and kindergarten students at all Remember Niger supported schools received, at minimum, one meal a day.
- Four teacher-training scholarships were financed and two teachers graduated from the teacher training school and are now teaching in our schools. I had the opportunity to teach along side both of these graduates when I was there in January. I was very impressed with the way in which they taught and managed their classes. We are currently funding four other teacher training scholarship recipients, one of whom will graduate this year.
- The schools’ three directors were provided with laptop computers. This is so important to achieving our objective to increase the capacity of the schools we support. Isti Garba, the Director at the Tsibiri boarding school, showed me how he keeps all of the school’s records, reports and documents on his laptop. He is working with the Director of the Aguie Primary School to teach her how to do the same thing.
- A computer lab was installed at the boarding school and computer training was facilitated to over 20 teachers and administrators.
- Funds were raised to build a permanent school building at the Aguie primary school. I met with the architect and school construction committee while I was in Niger. I’m happy to report that as of the day of the writing of this article, all of the paperwork has been completed, the contractor has been hired and they are ready to start construction! I’m confident that our next News Update will have pictures of the completed school building!