I recently returned from a wonderful week at the Niamey School for the Deaf in Niamey, Niger. This school is a special place; in an educational system where people with disabilities have little support and few resources, the School for the Deaf is a welcome refuge where students are known, loved, and supported as they pursue their educations. This nurturing atmosphere is fostered by the school’s director, Seybou Aoudy and the wonderful group of teachers who go above and beyond to meet their students’ needs.
The purpose of my trip was to help with a teacher training that was organized by Remember Niger and funded by a generous grant from IMF Giving Together. Many people made this training possible, including a dedicated volunteer who ordered the computers and loaded the software. The training focused on two areas: classroom management and computers. Using 15 laptops along with tables, chairs, and a printer, all of which were purchased thanks to the IMF Giving Together grant, we set up a resource center that will serve both the teachers and the students of the Deaf School.
At the beginning of the training, many of the teachers (like Fatouma, pictured here at right) had never touched a computer. By the end of the week, everyone was able to create and format Word documents and run calculations in Excel. It was exciting to watch their progress and enthusiasm for the work–the teachers were so enthusiastic that they worked past break times and into lunch on several occasions!
During the classroom management portion of the training, we really got to see how much the teachers care for their students and value the art of teaching. They all agreed that teaching is a calling, not just a profession. The training included small group discussions and exercises, and culminated with the teachers writing a letter to their students expressing their hopes and expectations for the coming year.
Spending this time with the teachers at the Niamey School for the Deaf reminded me of the power of partnerships and how encouraging it is to know that we are “in this together”. Thank you for partnering with us to help make this training and all of our programs in Niger possible!
Vice President, Remember Niger Coalition Board of Trustees