As planned, Michaela and I set off early to the Fulani camp to meet the women who were going to accompany us to the school (Natriku R C School) which was supposedly of closer proximity to their camp than the one we have been focussing on (where Elias attends, Holy Family RC school). It became very clear after 15 minutes of driving that there was no way any child could walk to that school. Nonetheless we carried on and went ahead to meet the Head as planned to explore the structure, facilities and costs involved. We visited their facilities including all the classrooms with a very warm reception from each. We were satisfied with what we saw and concluded it was no different to Holy Family RC school. Of course the issue which brought us here in the first place was they would rather have their children in a school within walking distance.
We came back to the camp and held a follow up meeting with the men and women.
The mothers agreed this school did not fit that criteria and jointly with the men decided they would rather send their children to Holy Family RC. They have come to the decision they will fund the transportation to send the kids to school and have made an arrangement with a local driver who they trust. This is a good result if they stick to it! They have agreed to send back to school the 8 children who registered and stopped attending last year. They have 5 weeks to sew the uniforms for the children which became a stumbling block last year and contributed to them dropping out. 2 or possibly 3 new children will register next week. Michaela and I then went to the school to let the headmistress know our intentions, that the 8 will be returning and a further 3 registering next week. She assured us the uniform situation will not be an issue if they begin without it. We took the opportunity to check up on Elias. The teachers are very happy with his progress and they tell us he is now Class prefect! We are so proud of him and his achievements….he is certainly a good example for the other children to follow. We are still working hard to get his brother to start attending next term.
So next week Michaela and I will be meeting the parents of the children who will be registering, at the school where we will assist with their registration.