|Association régie par la loi 1901-Reconnue d'intérêt Général en mars 2006|
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Any evolution of a country happens through its schools. In Benin, each village has its own school. The large number of children often mean they are inovercrowded classes. It is quite common to see classes with more than 100 pupils. Academic standards are unfortunately very low; what else can be expected? Children are often taught in French and they have never heard this language at home . School teachers are often appointed far from their homeland and they don't speak the mother tongue of the children (here "Batonou" the baribas language).
Children often have to walk up to 5 km with an empty stomach to go to school. They have their first meal of the day at 10.00 am. Standing in the play ground, eating from a plastic plate (which has previously been rinsed in dirty water) with their fingers.
Most classes are overcrowed, but exceptionally, we have met one with less than 20 pupils! Let'us just hope that they're doing better!
Pupils spontaneouly sit for the photo. In the background, we can see another class under the mango tree: the school roof is being repaired. Fortunately, it's the dry season!
These children are happy to sing a song in French for us..
One-to-one tables, witch enables pupils to share the same book.
Pupils wear a uniform called "le kaki" (khaki). A few years ago, the "écolage" the financial contribution was stopped, enabling everybody to go to school . However, work in the fields for boys, and work in the home for girls, still keeps some children away from school ,..
We bring photos, drawings and letters from France that are pinned up in classrooms. In return we come back with"costume jewellery", drawings, and letters made by Benin's children. These exchanges are the best way to discover the culture of the each other's countries. Letters are never personal, to avoid jealousy !
The Benenese postal service is not always trustworthy and often slow, so we take the opportunity of friends and our own trips to carry mail.
We also send books (school and library books written in French), using small spaces in another Association's container. There are always appreciated in Benin, even if they aren't suited to their culture.