This project started in 2002 at Talladje, a shantytown of Niamey. Many children don’t attend school in that area: with the help of a women’s association, they can be identified and attend a transition class for one year, then the join the mainstream school system.
Each year pupils from 7 to 9 (as many girls as boys) attend the transition class for one year then they get integrated into the state school system.
In 2003 the transition “Hope” class planned for 50 pupils eventually accommodated 72 pupils. In 2005 the Association extended the services by providing lunches and cultural activities to the pupils.
The Association first checked that this project got the agreement of the Ministry of National Education, chose partners to select the pupils, the teachers, equipped the classroom and found premises.
The Primary education department supplied the furniture and part of the stationery; Tarbiyya Tatali, thanks to a specific donation, paid for the other costs:
- the teacher’s wages,
- additional stationery
- construction of the straw hut class
In 2009, The Hope School received financial support from Istres Rotary Club, which permitted the construction of latrines and the purchase of school desks and benches.
The association has decided to step up its action in favour of schooling the children of the Talladjé district, so as to eventually enable them to improve their own and their families’social and economic situation.
To that effect, the association has implemented two educational schemes :
- The Gateway Class for the 6 to 8 age group.
- The Fast-Track Education Strategy for the 12 to 14 age group.
Teaching is done in their mother tongue, French being introduced later, first orally, then in writing.
The reason is that it became apparent that Niger children entering the fourth grade often can’t read or write properly.
Experiments have shown that learning in their mother tongue enables pupils to develop reading-writing strategies that improve their skills in learning another language such as French.
As to the Gateway Class launched in 2006-2007, children in the 6 to 8 age-group first attend a suitable school year and most of them can then join the mainstream classes. Teaching is done in their mother tongue during the first 3 months, French being introduced orally and in writing during the following months. In 2008, 108 pupils out of 147 succeeded in joining the 2nd grade (instead of the 1st), a 73% success rate. Gaining a whole school year is very beneficial to late comers and their families highly appreciate the efficient innovation.
As for the Fast-Track Strategy Class, set up in 2009 thanks to the Stromme Foundation, 31 pupils from 12 to 14 attend two full high-standard school years. Lessons are taught in their mother tongue for two months, French being progressively introduced orally, then in writing. In 2010, 30 pupils were tested (one being sick) getting the following results: 4 Excellent; 8 Very Good ; 1 Good ; 7 Fair; 3 acceptable ; 4 inadequate. 13 of them had never attended school before December 2009. The 3rd-grade Level Test had been devised by the Education Inspectorate of Niamey IV.
The Hope School was closed between 2013 and 2016.
A new class was created in 2017, There are 31 pupils, 19 girls and 12 boys, financed by AECIN’s own resources, The school has now been named after its founder, Mahamadou Saïdou. The Counsellor has pointed out that it would be interesting to provide lunch. AECIN has provisioned funds to that effect.
In 2018-2019 the school reopened on October 1st, with 30 students, 8 girls and 22 boys; The low number of girls is due to the fact that the girls concerned were young enough to attend the local school. Then chicken-pox occurred, affecting the counselor as well, until all went back to normal. A lunch service has been introduced since mid April.
It is the hottest season in the year, and food prices rise. Water has been brought near the school, which will make it possible to create a school garden.
The class was closed during part of the 2020 school year, owing to restrictions enforced to control the pandemic. On October 12th 2020, the school re-opened. The group contains 15 girls and 15 boys who were selected among some 50 candidates.
In the summer of 2021, fourteen girls and ten boys entered the third grade and six further pupils entered first grade or second grade.
In october 2021 the Mahamadou Saidou class opened with 24 students, including 7 girls and 17 boys, in the Tallagué district of Niamey, the enrolment will be balanced between boys and girls. This year, the class is granted with 40 solar lamps. It allows learners and their families to benefit from lighting.