One of our goals is to help foster friendships and partnerships between our supporters in the United States and our friends and colleagues in Niger. However, because our supporters are spread out throughout the United States and around the world, this is not an easy task. The distance makes it challenging to create a sense of community. Perhaps, by sharing our stories, we can help “bridge the distance.”
How We Became Involved
Jim and Margot Stuart, from Nambour, Queensland, Australian Supporters of the REMEMBER NIGER COALITION
In 2009, we travelled to Niger to participate in the Christian work in Maradi and the wider Sahel region. Jim as a Forester/Educator in the ‘Sowing Seeds of Change in the Sahel’ project, following on from the good work that had been done over many years in the area by SIM and the local team. Margot, a Physiotherapist, had part-support from The Leprosy Mission Australia to work in the Therapy Department at Danja CSL Hospital.
During our time there over a 10 month period, we lived at Maza Tsaye, survived Hausa language lessons(!), learnt about the many layers of Maradi society, and particularly loved being part of the Sonitan EERN church life. We heard many stories about educational barriers for local children.
A visit out to the Aguie School enlightened us regarding the educational setting there. Much of Margot’s previous ministries and professional work has been in Pediatrics and children’s ministries in school settings. So, when Kara came out to Niger, Margot joined her in a visit to Tsibiri School. This was at once both inspiring and confronting. The needs were obvious. One of our deeply lingering memories about Niger is the strength and faithfulness in the EERN church. Their vision for education is part of that daring.
We requested to shift our ‘banner of presence’ and be seconded to EERN, so we could do our ministries through the church frameworks. But at the time this was not possible from an organizational point of view. However, we saw in ‘Remember Niger’ exactly that. An organization who is working with and through the local church framework, empowering and supporting local vision and endeavoring to change the lives of the children of Niger. Directing our heart for Niger through Remember Niger has proved both a strategic and effective action.
The challenge the children of Niger have before them will be well met as they learn and apply their faith to their circumstances, and in so doing see their God at work fulfilling His vision for their country, through their lives.