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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fulani kids in schools...

Posted by Matt Porter

Well... I thought I should make a small blog as things at the Fulani camp have been moving in good directions - more so than we had anticipated! As you know, Elias has been getting registered to get to school. On Sunday evening, Jane managed to complete the sewing of his uniform in time, which he had paid for with his own money. 
We went to see him tonight, Tuesday, to check if he had been to school on both days, and he has! Elias has been keen on this for a long time, but there was always so many excuses and unknowns and misunderstandings, that have been taken away by trips to the school to find out the real deals...

Tonight though, I was very surprised and confused when Asamau's mother, Hawa, asked me where her children should go on next Monday - the camp or Akuse? Well, Elias, who speaks excellent English, was able to translate and explain for me... We had been to the school the first time with Elias and his father as well as Asamau's father, but on the follow-up visit to establish where the children should go into which class, Asamau's father wasn't around whilst Elias took a test to establish his levels. So I thought that was that... Elias in school, Asamau and her sister in the camp education centre...

Turns out, Hawa took Asamau and her sister to Akuse yesterday to register them in the school! She then took Asamau to the hospital to get her finger dressed (yes, still ongoing, but getting there)! That's two bits of great news! So Hawa wanted to know if on Mondays, the children should come to the camp education centre, and go to the Akuse government school the rest of the week... I explained to her that the children should go to a full school that can offer a lot more in terms of education than we can, BUT, she, the mother should DEFINITELY come to the education centre on a Monday!  

So we are moving in the right direction here! The parents seem to be getting the idea that the education centre can provide help with basic literacy and health education, but not full education... The kids are better off in the school, and the women better off in the education centre... And with 3 out of 20-odd children in the school at Akuse, I think the other parents are going to start doing the same, especially as they are finding out that the school is a lot more accessible than they previously thought! The biggest challenges are the transport for them and the costs, despite the fact that the main tuition fees are free up to end of Junior Secondary School.

So, we will keep an eye on all this and see how it pans out! 

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