In the rural village of Siramana in Ouélessebougou, these challenges are all too familiar.
The sun is overbearing. Now, imagine sitting outside, hour after hour, trying to study.
This is the reality for twelve-year-old Mamadou who would study under a straw roof at his school in Siramana.
Just over a year ago, first and second-year students in his village had to take all their lessons out in the open under makeshift shelters.
On the hottest days, the children would fall sick. When it rained they’d have to run home for shelter.
And some days, worse things than rain fell between the gaps in the thatch:
When there was a snake we were afraid and ran away. Sometimes, the roof even fell down.
No one should have to send their child to a school where they aren’t safe.
Yet despite the struggles, Mamadou still loves school. His favourite subject is maths, and when we asked him how he’d feel if there were no school in his village, his brown eyes gleamed:
I like coming to school to learn. If I couldn’t go to school I’d be illiterate. If there was no school here, I’d move to a place where there is a school.
With its crumbling classrooms, dilapidated conditions and poor quality teaching, many families withdrew their children from school. Instead, children helped out at home or supported their parents to earn a living – including at hazardous local mining sites.
Altogether, less than a third of school-aged children in the village were enrolled in school, while some others attended a madrassah (religious school).
Islamic Relief: Swapping straw roofs for fully-furnished classrooms