The Guidan Arna school
It was hard to see the conditions of the school. We visited the Guidan Arna primary school in November. This was our second visit. We were there almost a year ago for the first time, and nothing appeared to have changed since then. There was still just one permanent, cement block classroom and five temporary classrooms made from sticks and dried grass. Every year, the parents collect enough money to pay for a new, grass roof.
It was difficult to see the children sitting on the ground with the hot sun coming through the ceiling. They looked up at us with their big eyes, probably wondering why we were there. Only a few students had the books and supplies they needed. We learned that the entire school has a total of only 5 books for each classroom – which the parents had bought with the money they pooled.
We knew that because of your generosity and support, this would be a great project for Remember Niger.
We were there because of the local church. The pastor and members of the congregation asked us if we could help the local, public school where their children attend. The village chief was there to greet us when we arrived. The community and parents of the students are already supporting the school and invested. They invited us to partner with them.
This is the reality for most villages in Niger. When there is a public school option, the federal government often provides teachers and pays their salaries, but the rest of the costs (including the construction of classrooms) is the responsibility of the local community. It’s difficult for the communities because most members are subsistence farmers who do not have extra income. The result is underfunded education that doesn’t provide the quality that parents and students need and desire. Remember Niger is well positioned to come alongside these communities to help improve the educational opportunities of the children.
Next year Remember Niger will seek to build a 3-classroom cement block building for the community in Guidan Arna.
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