Rise Against Hunger food packets contribute to better school attendance
The security situation in Eastern Niger is still volatile and unpredictable. The region of Diffa, bordering Northern Nigeria remains in a state of emergency. The situation which significantly deteriorated over the years is characterized by an increase in criminal acts, and incursions by non-state armed groups with kidnappings of civilians. There were 26 major incidents reported in the region within the past two months. Intra-communal conflicts, kidnappings, juvenile delinquency, improvised explosive device attacks, and attacks on security force positions are very common in the region.
Despite the complexity of the security context, KAMRA and Rise Against Hunger (RAH) continue to support Kirker Foundation/Niger in providing much needed assistance to the school system in the region. Through the RAH-sponsored school feeding program, hundreds of primary school students, including those at the Barbara Kirker Second Chance School and several rural schools in the district of Maine Soroa and the region of Zinder are supported.
It's June and the first rains are still to fall. The lean season is negatively affecting the resilience, as well as the food and nutritional security of households in Eastern Niger. With temperature reaching 108 degrees in this period of the year, students at the Barbara school have never been that dedicated to pursuing the educational journey. They have a strong incentive to wake up every day and hit the road to go to class. The daily meal provided at the school has been critical in maintaining good attendance. The enrollment increased by 40% in some cases in school where the meal is being served daily.
Ousmane Adamou, a student at the Barbara Kirker Second Chance School left his village of Nguel Beyli, located at about 60 miles to come to Maine Soroa, and enroll into the Barbara Kirker Second Chance School. His parents did not enroll him to first grade in the regular school system when he was seven years old. Had it not been for the opportunity provided by the Barbara Kirker Second Chance School, Ousmane would never get the chance to get a formal education. The Barbara school gives to children like Ousmane, who had missed out on being enrolled in Niger’s mainstream educational system by the age of seven, a “second chance” to become educated. The school is fully accredited by the Niger Ministry of Education and provides an opportunity for children nine to fourteen years of age to attend school.
Motivated by his desire to learn, he convinced his parents to bring him to Maine Soroa and enroll his into the Second Chance School established by Mrs. Barbara Kirker in 2007. Now 16, Ousmane is in his final year and will soon graduate to move to secondary school. Both Ousmane and his younger brother have been attending the Second Chance School for a couple of years now. Coming from a rural family of 13 children for whom life in the village is extremely hard, Ousmane is pleased with the support provided by RAH. Commenting on the support, Ousmane declared, “we are very happy with the meals we received at school each day during lunch time. The meal constitutes an incentive for many of us to attend class as we know that we have access to food.”
Mrs. Yani, a mother of two children attending the Barbara School declared, “we are very grateful and satisfied with the food provided to our children at school. We no longer worry about what to give them when they come back from school as they come back well-fed. The daily meals are critical to the children attending school.”
According to the General Secretary of the Maine-Soroa District, Mr. Hassan Lawan Marouma who officially received the food ration for the month of June on behalf of the Barbara Kirker, the food assistance provided by RAH plays a great role in the security of the region. He declared; “as we all know, the source of extreme violence perpetrated by terrorists is ignorance, and as we all know the Barbara school provide an excellent educational opportunity for youngster to get out of ignorance, including refugee children”. Mrs. Mamadou Ary, the District literacy inspector praised the support provided by RAH and KAMRA and mentioned that thanks to the assistance the children receive at the school, it has the best results in the district to the point that students in the formal system envy their peers at the Second Chance School and want to join them if allowed. She also declared, considering the good achievements made by the Second Chance School, Plan International made an extension of classrooms to accommodate more children, and avoid turning down needy pupils.”
Mr Koukouma Gasso, former Mayor of the Maine Soroa Municipality, and current newly elected Vice President of Kirker Foundation/Niger; during a recent visit at the Barbara School declared; “we are very pleased with the RAH support. The food assistance the school gets is instrumental is providing much needed educational support to families and retaining children in the school system. After the four-year curriculum, hundreds of children were able to graduate and move on with their education in secondary school, which they could not have done, had it not been for the support from KAMRA and its partners.”
FedEx shipped these meals on behalf of Rise Against Hunger as a part of the company’s FedEx Cares “Delivering for Good” initiative, in which FedEx lends its global network and unparalleled logistics expertise to organizations with mission-critical needs and helps communities before, during and after crises. Learn more about FedEx Cares Delivering for Good initiative here.