When Chefou was a young boy, his older brother herded cattle for missionaries. One day, the missionary visited Chefou’s home so that she could pay the boy for his work. As Chefou tells the story, when she saw him (Chefou), she immediately asked, “Would you like to go to school?” His affirmative response changed the trajectory of his life. He attended the Tsibiri Boarding School, which at that time was run by missionaries (it is now run by the EERN and a Remember Niger partner school). It was during those formative years that Chefou became a Christian. He did so well academically, that he was allowed to continue through secondary school and then he was offered a scholarship to attend university in Nigeria. He returned to Niger and worked as an English teacher for many years, eventually working his way up into administration.
Through it all, Chefou never forgot the life-changing question that the missionary had asked him, “Do you want to go to school?”. He and the Evangelical Church of Niger (EERN) leaders in Madaoua, where he was living, wanted to ask the children in their community the same question. They had a dream of creating a school that would enable them to provide excellent, education grounded in Christianity to the children in their community. They approached Remember Niger, seeking help in achieving their dream and we came alongside them. In 2014, they opened a kindergarten class with 23 students in a temporary classroom on the church property. Now, the school is bursting at the seams with 437 students in preschool through 6th grade. The first 6th grade class graduated in June 2021. 100% of the students passed the national exam and matriculated to secondary school.
The story doesn’t end there. In 2017, Chefou retired and moved with his family to Tahoua. He and the leaders of the Salama Church wanted to ask the children in the Tahoua community the same question, “Do you want to go to school?” Again, the Chefou and the local church approached Remember Niger, seeking partnership. In 2018, the Salama Primary School opened with a kindergarten class in the Sunday School classroom on the church’s property. Today, the school teaches nearly 60 students in grades kindergarten through 4th grade and Chefou and his church continue to ask the children, “Do you want to go to school?”
It is remarkable to see the way in which God’s love continues and multiplies. The missionary’s simple act of love - sending a child to the Christian boarding school - has reaped fruit beyond measure and continues to grow. We are humbled to walk with Chefou and other amazing Nigeriens who are making Christ known through their simple desire to enable every child in Niger to have the opportunity to answer the question, “Do you want to go to school?”