Hanna’s parents arranged for her to marry an older man when she was just 12 years old. She became pregnant within the first year of the marriage. Her young body was not fully developed, and she was too small to carry and deliver a child. During childbirth an obstetric fistula formed. Over the next year, she constantly had infections and people began to treat her differently because of the resulting foul odor. Her husband was embarrassed and didn’t want to be with her. He rejected her and the baby and eventually divorced her.
Unfortunately, there are thousands of girls and young women like Hanna in Niger. They have been rejected by their husbands, families and friends. Life is very difficult for them, because they don’t know how to get help. Sometimes, they are able to find treatment at clinics and hospitals. Even if they are cured, there are very few opportunities for them. They were forced to leave school early to marry and do not have skills to find work.
Remember Niger Coalition is addressing this need by helping establish the Kollo Girls School (KGS). In the coming years, KGS will provide opportunities for girls like Hanna to return to school to gain the skills and knowledge needed to get a good job.
* Fistula – (from Wikipedia) Obstetric fistula is a medical condition in which a hole develops in the birth canal as a result of childbirth. This can be between the vagina and rectum, ureter, or bladder. It can result in incontinence of urine or feces. Complications may include depression, infertility, and social isolation.
Ousseina (Oo-sane- a) is 7 years old and in first grade. Like most children in Niger, she comes from a very large family. The average woman in Niger will have at least 7 children, which is the highest birthrate in the world. Ousseina is the youngest of 12 siblings. All her brothers and sisters attended and graduated from the Tsibiri Boarding School (TBS). TBS is highly regarded in its community for providing a high-quality education to students in elementary school. It is well known that students who graduate from TBS are at the top of their class when they move on to middle school.
Unfortunately for Ousseina, by time it was it was her turn to go to school her father could not afford it. He is now older, retired and on a very fixed income. In past years he had always sold a goat to pay for his other children to attend school. Sadly, he has run out of goats. It was for this reason that he decided that Ousseina would not be able to attend school. She cried and cried and begged her father to let her go to school. Fortunately, because of Ousseina’s circumstances, she was able to receive a sponsorship through the Remember Niger Coalition. She is now in the 1st grade at the Tsibiri Boarding School, and she’s very happy. She dreams of being a teacher one day.
There are thousands upon thousands of children in Niger whose stories don’t end so happily. Sadly, most of their fathers are unable to send them to school. They simply are unable to afford it. Remember Niger Coalition is addressing this issue through our sponsorship and scholarship programs. We match students like Ousseina with a sponsor in the United States or around the world. The sponsor’s support covers the cost of tuition, books, school meals and in many cases uniforms. The students in the sponsorship program attend high-quality schools where they learn, grow and develop into the children that God created them to be.