Christmas 2011

Dear Friends,

“Your feet go only where your heart leads” is a Hausa Proverb I first heard when I was in Niger this past July. The summer volunteers and I were discussing why we each had made the trip to West Africa when one of our Nigerien friends quoted this proverb. I remember thinking how wonderful it was that our hearts had lead us there! And, metaphorically, all of our hearts have lead us to Niger through our support, whether or not we have actually made the trip. We have been given an amazing opportunity to come along side of people who have a vision to positively transform their country through education. And, we are making a difference!

Bubeé is one of those people who envisions a brighter future for Niger. He graduated from one of the schools we support and now has a good job in the government. Bubeé is very thankful for the quality education that he was given and, through a desire to give back, he has served as the President of his school board for over fifteen years. He often talks about how grateful he is for the support we give through programs like student scholarships.

Last Spring, I had the opportunity to teach art classes at the Zinder Christian Primary School. When I went into the 5th grade classroom, I became aware of Houge, one of the young girls. That day we made African masks and I interviewed each of the students. It was clear that Houge was determined to work as hard as she could to fulfill her dream of becoming the directress of a primary school. Thanks to her father’s job as the Zinder school’s guard, Houge could attend school for free. The future was bright. And then … in the spring Houge’s father died unexpectedly. Normally, this would mean that without a parent employed at the school, either tuition would have to be paid or the child would have to be withdrawn from school. Fortunately, the school administrators were able to offer scholarships through the Remember Niger Scholarship Program. Rather than compound the family’s grief by requiring tuition, these funds were utilized to enable Houge to continue her education.

During this season of giving, I would like to ask you to consider allowing your “heart to lead your feet” back to Niger through your support of the Remember Niger Coalition.

With gratitude,

Kara VanderKamp, Executive Director