Moulaye Haidara’s “Education Fund for Malian refugees in Mauritania Project” works with children and youth from the Malian refugee community currently living in Mauritania. These individuals fled Mali as a result of the violence in the country’s north that started in April 2012. Rebels currently occupy Mali’s northern region after a coup led by an Islamist group led to a takeover of the country’s south. Moulaye’s project was generated out of the need to keep Malian refugee children in school despite the educational language barriers they face once they arrive in the host country, Mauritania. International organizations and local authorities are doing monumental work specifically focusing on such basic needs such as food, water and shelter. However, children’s education is currently not being focused on. The issue is exacerbated by the fact that the language of instruction in Mauritania is Arabic, where in Mali it is French. Although there are private schools that teach in French, most parents cannot afford to pay for it as they are struggling to make ends meet.
Moulaye pro poses creating a class in Nouakchott that teaches refugee children French, English, Math, and History. It intends to prepare Malian students to attend Mauritanian public schools in the future, and will benefitthem even after integrating into the school system as it will help with home work and foster community. Moulaye first considered having people from the community that have advanced degrees teach their disciplines to create a positive environment within the community. He later agreed with a member of the community that hiring a professional and experienced local teacher from the public school system may be more beneficial as students prepared to matriculate into the public school system in Mauritania. With the help of some of his friends, Moulaye has collected some surplus school supplies and chairs from neighboring schools and the funds to hire an experienced teacher in the short term. The project will cost $6,000 for the first six months and approximately $10,000 for the remainder of the year to cover the teacher’s salary and the general school expenses.