A teacher’s dedication to bring children back to school

In Mali, teachers union SNEC is training teachers on the concept of child labour, and the creation of child labour free zones. Noumoutieba Diarra, focal point of a participating school in Ouroun, has always been committed to the fight against school dropouts. At a young age, he had to interrupt his schooling, but thanks to his perseverance, now he is a proud teacher himself.

Moved and motivated by this personal history, Mr. Diarra has always been very driven to help children who dropped out of school. The child-labour training he received through the Stop Child Labour-project, taught him to be much more effective in re-integrating former dropouts. He learned to communicate better with colleagues and parents, and to listen carefully to everyone. He learned about Malian laws against child labour, and how to set up an anti-child labour club within his own school. After the training, Mr. Diarra totally dedicated himself to the job.

With the help of the Principal of his school, he identified 12 pupils and asked them to join the anti-child labour club in his school. All of them, 6 girls and 6 boys, agreed. Thanks to the club’s sensitization activities and visits to parents, 14 children who had dropped out of school returned to school 3 months ago. Mr. Diarra also set up a Mother/Teacher Association. The Chairperson is a woman who was persuaded to bring her daughter back to school. With other mothers, she decided to sensitize a maximum of mothers to fight for their children’s education.

The training Mr. Diarra received greatly strengthened his activities in the fight against child labour and school dropout. This aroused the enthusiasm for education of a large part of the community. Noumoutieba Diarra is a real role model in his village. Therefore, SNEC appointed Mr. Diarra coordinator for the focal points in the region. His enthusiasm has rubbed off on other focal points in the area. Mr. Diarra’s story shows how the training of teachers and their involvement in such a type of projects can help bring about significant changes on the ground.

The Malian teachers’ union SNEC is partner of Stop Child Labour within the programme ‘Out of Work and into School’, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.