Early one morning, while walking from our borehole village of Kijigari to a nearby camp, I came upon this little guy as we both made our way across a dried and barren marshland. We were heading in opposite directions. So intent on reaching his destination, he did not even look my way to offer a typical “matralaka” salutation. Ever curious, I asked him where he was heading. “To school, I’m off to school! My father is the school director in Kijigari”, he answered proudly. “Do you like going to school?” He beamed, “school is super cool!” “You best get going, then. Don’t be late.” I waved him off with a smile. I secretly felt loaded with cosmos gratitude.
Kijigari is one of the few communities in the Azawak with a school. Before Amman Imman built the “Kijigari Well of Love” — financed by Montessori schools worldwide — attendance was as low as 10 to 30%, depending on the time of year. Kids simply did not have time to attend classes as they were too busy looking for water. Today, attendance has grown to over 85%. Even more impressive is that an increasing number of girls attend the school every year.
Amman Imman has supported the Kijigari school with materials and books. Because we believe that quality education requires highly qualified and motivated teachers, we intend on offering teacher training classes in the near future.