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26 October 2018

From Street Child to Engineer

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In Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world, poverty is the main reason vulnerable children end up on the streets. 14-year-old Saadatou lives with her family in a village on the outskirts of Naimey and until recently she was one of the city's many street children.
When Saadatou's father died, her mother, Fatouma was left alone to care for her 9 children. When her divorced daughter returned home with her children, the number of people relying on Fatouma grew to 13. She's trying her best, but the meager income she receives selling food at the marketplace just doesn't stretch far enough.
‘We are using mil (flour dumplings) and maize paste because rice is too expensive for us’, explains Fatouma. When even food is a financial burden, how can she afford school fees for her children, ‘Even with public school, if you want to enrol your children you have to pay 40.000 francs (around £53) , buy school kit, uniform, and every day you have to give them money for the breakfast. You also have to pay for books’.
When Fatouma could no longer afford the school fees Saadatou left school and began helping her mother at the market. There, children are at risk of many dangers including exploitation and abuse. Fatouma was worried for her family, ‘It’s a big problem and it’s worrying me because I don’t have anything and they will not do anything in the future if they stay with me and don’t go to school’.
Then, a friend on the streets told Saadatou about a Muslim Hands-supported engineering apprenticeship at a local training centre and she enrolled.
Now, she is receiving nutritious meals, her transportation and school equipment is included in the programme and all whilst qualifying to be an engineer. She dreams of opening a workshop when she graduates.
Knowing that her daughter will not be trapped in the same cycle of poverty she has been a prisoner of her whole life, means everything to Fatouma. She no longer worries about Saadatou being exposed to the many dangers of the streets and most importantly, she knows that her daughter can look forward to the future with hope.

Donate now to give a vulnerable street child like Saadatou food, education and a qualification.

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By Tijen Horoz, Senior Communications Editor


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