This blog was originally posted on LittleRipples.org.
She has been living in refugee site Bethanie for three years with her husband and four children. It took them two months by foot to reach Cameroon. Her husband works in the “field,” farming. Her children attend a Koranic school in Bethanie. When asked about the importance of education for her children, she said, “Yes education is important. It is important for our children to learn to pray.” In this community, attendance to primary school is extremely low – in part due to the distance to the school and in part due to the lack of value or need placed on education. Education for most families means sending their boys to Koranic school. Most parents did not grow up going to school in the Central African Republic, where they are from. None of the mothers we interviewed, including Mairama, ever attended any school. Mairama said that her husband is also illiterate.
A typical day for Mairama is waking up and walking to the field. It takes about two hours to walk where she goes to collect wood to sell at the market. She spends her entire day in the field and usually comes back home around 4pm. Her older children, ages 14 and 16, accompany her to the field while the younger ones, ages 6 and 10, stay home to fetch water. When we asked her what she wishes most for her children, Mairama responded, “rice”.
After speaking with other mothers like Mairama in Bethanie, we quickly observed a need for Little Ripples – a program that will plant the seeds of education for this community.