Help us build Mauritania’s first women’s eco-mahdhara

In one of the last bastions of Bedouin culture in the world, where sand dunes lay blazing under a scorching sun, where some people still count their wealth in livestock and all Islamic sciences are memorised in poetry, lies a village that has become synonymous with tarbiya (education) in Mauritania, Matamoulana.

The women of Matamoulana are diligent and determined in their pursuit of knowledge. Day in and day out, week after week, they brave the sweltering heat and patience-inducing conditions of this Saharan desert village to learn their religion.  For these grandmothers, mothers and girls, their lessons are the cornerstones of their routine.

They are the students and teachers of the Centre for the Mother and Child (Markaz Al-Umm wa al-Tifl)  who appeal to you to help them establish one of the first traditional Islamic institutes (called a mahdhara in Arabic) in Mauritania dedicated to the education of women and children.

With the support of South African NGO, the Gift of the Givers Foundation, construction started in December 2016, and we are looking for further funding to complete the construction of our centre and kindergarten.

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About the Country

Mauritania, located in West Africa, is one of the world’s poorest countries and is ranked 156 out of 188 on the 2015 UNDP Human Development Index.  It has a population of 3.5 million people (July 2014 Est), half of whom depend on livestock and agriculture for a livelihood.  The southern area of the country is part of the Sahel region, which also includes Chad, Mali, Gambia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Niger.  According to the World Food Programme (WFP), the Sahel is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate variation, drought and unpredictable rainfall.