For several years the pupils of Dogon Doutchi, with the assistance of their teachers, have been effectively contributing to preserving the stories which are part of their culture.
Local storytellers at school
In the classes the storytellers from the villages and from Dogon Doutchi, village elders, fathers and mothers, boys and girls tell their tales in Haoussa, their mother tongue. They tell the ones they heard in their families in the evenings. These tales coming from the old oral Nigerien tradition are translated with the help of the teachers; Some phrases, mostly proverbs, are printed in Haoussa together with their translation into French. A transcription of the time-honoured tradition of oral literature in Niger is thus incorporated into school work.
The importance of folk tales in education
In Niger tales have always been an educational tool for the children. Introducing tales in classes allows learning from them that you must not oppress the weak,you must not wish harm for others, you must not be greedy; you must not despise your parents or children. You must on the contrary listen to the wise elders, respect your parents, and help people in distress. The moral code can be taught by tales.
Thanks to tales the children also realize that school is consistent with their home environment, they learn how to value their own culture as well as how to better understand the culture of others. Two brochures, published with the NGO Aide & Action, are now available in the classes and the children have become writers of reading books.
Four Tales from Niger
Extracts from our two books of Tales
Our book of tales: a collective enterprise
Cooperation between storytellers, teachers and pupils led to the publication of a book of Nigerien tales. More than two hundred people were involved.
A first booklet published in french, haoussa and zarma entitled: ’Learning from Nigerien Tales’ was published in Niger in 2002 thanks to funds from Aide et Action.
Later, ’Learning from Nigerien Tales’ was published in France in December 2004, it is now out of print,
You can purchase our new book ‘Once Upon a Time in Niger’ from our shop.. The previous publication ‘At School with Nigerien Tales’ is now out of print.
A Nigerien artist illustrated the significant scenes, Nigerien and French teachers revised the text, and a print worker did the layout for free, Special thanks to Nils Royet for the layout, to Issoufou M’Barke and Dominique Berlioz for the texts in french and to Saoude Ali Bida for the parts of texts in hausa translated in french.
The sales of this book will pay for improvements of the Dogon Doutchi schools. We hope that the pupils of Dogon Doutchi will be pleased to know that their school work contributed to this achievement.