Sunday, August 5, 2012

Project Update: Adopt a Refugee Family to keep their children in school

We are in the second month of our pilot project in Mauritnaia, helping Malian refugee families stay out of the camps and keep their children in school. The project is showing good success with the initial 10 families sponsored.

Finances: we have $8400 raised to date, which will enable 14 families to enter the program for 6 months.

We have implemented an online fund raising campaign using twitter, facebook, causes, and an email campaign. Through our Malian volunteers, we have engaged in preliminary discussions with Tinariwen, a world famous musical group from Kidal, Mali, to partner on fund raising programs and refugee projects.

Project Status: 10 families have been identified, vetted, and registered in the program; funding for Month 1 was distributed to the initial pilot group of 10 families.

The school authorities in Nouakchott have authorized access for refugee students to public schools in Nouakchott, however, these public schools operate with a bilingual System (Arabic-French) while the schools in Mali did not include Arabic. Some refugee families have chosen to enroll their children in private schools having a curriculum in French as in Mali, therefore, we have students participating who are in public schools as well as some in private school due to language issues.
The participant students attended schools in Nouakchott in the months of May and June 2012. Over these two months, students who attended the public schools were not graded because they arrived late in the school year and have never studied Arabic. Only students who attended private schools were assessed with report cards. During this stage, there will be no transcript for students who attended public schools, but this criterion will be effective from October 2012.

Satisfaction is generally good for all participants during this initial pilot phase. Despite the difficulties of refugee life, completing the school year was a priority for these parents. The families are committed to respect the clauses of the program contract and we believe that the absence of transcripts for some students will have no negative effects on the results of this support program for students.

Besides access to public schools authorized by the city Nouakchott, this program is the first of its kind for these refugee parents and students who now say they feel hopeful their children will be able to go back to school in October 2012. Refugee families in Nouakchott are hoping that this program can be expanded to more families and other partners will follow the example of NomadHope and their partners.

1. Issue: Elementary schools let out early this summer and photographs of students in school were not possible.

Cause: N/A

Solution: we will capture in-school photographs again in October when classes resume.

***** See our spring NEWSLETTER with links to everything, pass it on. *****
See some of our adopted families and a project overview below, and DONATE NOW TO HELP MORE FAMILIES!

Project Overview:
The Need

NomadHope has been working for many years with rural schools in Mali to implement water, solar, water, and sanitation solutions. In 2012, Mali experienced political and tribal unrest causing a temporary exodus of people from these rural villages and nearby towns such as Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal to neighboring countries like Mauritania. More than 300,000 Malians have been forced to abandon homes in the hope of finding safety. Many of these families settled in Mauritania, either in the large refugee camp there or in the surrounding cities such as Nouakchott. Around 64,000 Malian refugees, including 39,000 children, are now living in a refugee camp at M’Bera in the far south-eastern corner of Mauritania. We estimated that there are over 4000 refugees in capital Nouakchott with hundreds of school age children. All these students had their education disrupted in the middle of the school year, to flee their homes.

There are over 250 Malian students living as refugees in Nouakchott, Mauritania today. They range in age from 12 to 20 years old, grades 6 through university. In Mali these children had been good students, their parents putting a high priority on education. Each student now lives with relatives or a ‘foster’ family, two and sometimes three families under one roof. They are working hard to avoid moving into the refugee camps where their children will be one among thousands. In order to enroll in school in Mauritania, they must purchase books and school supplies; to attend they must walk or find transportation every school day; to succeed in a new school they need ‘catch-up” tutoring. These refugee families in the capital city of Mauritania need financial assistance for an average of 6 months.

Our program adopts a student and their family for six months, at $100 per month; this keeps sutudents in school, feeds the family, and gives them the opportunity to find housing, and a job to get them back on their feet in a new city.

Project and Process

The project is managed in the field by NomadHope and Adjmor’s professional project managers. With each $600 raised we initiate the sponsorship of another family and student. The sponsored family and student sign a contract agreeing to use the funds to support continuous school enrollment and attendance.
The funds will be distributed to each family monthly, provided the following criteria have been met each month:
  • A letter from the student, describing how the funds have helped their family and how school is impacting their life.
  • Confirmation from the school of enrollment, attendance, and performance in good standing.
  • Photographs sent to us, showing the student and family in their home, at school, or doing daily activities.
Expected Results

This project will help each student stay in school and out of the refugee camp. The students should be enrolled and complete the current school year and begin the 2012-13 school year in October 2012. The family should have an income or plan for income source and arrangements to remain in Nouakchott until it is safe to return to Mali.
Project Partners

We are pleased to have the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Manhattan Beach, the expertise of, and local oversight of Adjmor, Mali.

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