At TuaRes, our aim is to provide targeted, holistic interventions that allow vulnerable girls to not only stay in school, but to become lifelong learners who have the skills to take control of their future. Since 2012, TuaRes has grown in numbers and scope, but our dedication to the personal connection between our staff and the TuaRes girls has never wavered. Thus, we have been cautious when considering opening new project sites, particularly outside of Burkina Faso. In 2019, however, we felt that we had the capacity, and an excellent implementation partner, to apply the TuaRes program model in a small community in the region of Ouidah, Benin.
Benin is a small, coastal country in West Africa. Of the nearly 11 million people in the country, estimates range from 40 to 64 percent of the population lives in poverty.1 The village of Djegbamey is located approximately one hour outside of Cotonou, the most populated city in Benin. The village itself is not particularly large and relies on fishing and agriculture for both income and for direct consumption. The village has approximately 200 students who are eligible for school. In the last few years, a local grassroots NGO, Afrique Décide, decided to focus their time and resources to this village to provide direct assistance to a deeply vulnerable community.
In discussions with the village leaders, the Afrique Décide team found that there were only two teachers who were able to teach four grade levels for the entirety of the community, meaning that several grade levels were not taught, so the students did not have an opportunity to continue their education. Additionally, 21 children traveled 18 KM each day to attend the closest secondary school – either by bicycle or by foot. The village needed assistance engaging more teachers, helping families and students with school readiness, and removing typical barriers such as school fees and lack of materials.
In 2019, TuaRes began directly supporting the education of 94 girls – which is the entire population of school aged girls in the village. Through our work extra teachers have been engaged so that all grade levels are currently taught, the TuaRes distributions of solar lamps and school materials are delivered annually, and the girls also benefit from Psychosocial interventions to help them cope emotionally during their studies. One of the effects of this intervention is something that we are incredibly proud of, and speaks to the nature of our work, though TuaRes provides direct support for the girls in the village, the educational opportunities of the boys have also increased.
The success of the TuaRes and Afrique Décide intervention spread to the surrounding communities and now we are pleased to know that families in the surrounding villages are also sending their children to school. The TuaRes – Benin project continues to grow. In 2020, we helped sponsor the refurbishment of a local building to become a library and activity space for all children.
We are proud to work with the village of Djegbamey in their pursuit of education for their children.
Last updated in August 2021