On Tuesday, April 13 2021, a fire broke out in a school in Niamey, Niger, West Africa, devastating 25 classrooms inside straw huts, claiming the lives of approximately 20 young people. Through our PassEduc project, Aide et Action was already working in the area and we are now adapting our activities to respond to the emergency and support victims.
Twenty students, including 19 preschool children tragically perished in a fire that ravaged Pays-Bas school, in Niamey, Niger. The fire broke out on Tuesday afternoon, 13 April 2021, and spread very quickly among 25 classrooms in straw huts, which were completely destroyed.
Aide et Action is deeply saddened by this tragic event and we express our most sincere condolences to the families of the victims, to the teachers, and to the more than 2,000 students in the school and surroundings.
Support the community and ensure educational continuity
In Niger, almost 50 percent of children live under the monetary poverty line and 75 percent of young children under the age of 5 are deprived of three or more essential social services. Our work in Pays-Bas school to date saw our PassEduc project offer 38 young people previously excluded from education opportunities to integrate back into the school system. We remain fully mobilized and eager to meet the requirements of the situation for these young people and their families as the community grapples with this recent tragedy and we will adapt our activities as needed to guarantee pedagogical continuity.
This will involve finding safer learning environments in consultation with the educational authorities and stakeholders, re-mobilizing the teachers, sensitizing the parents to the needs of these young students and offering psychological support to cope with the traumatic event.
For its part, the state plans to relocate students from damaged classrooms to the nearest schools to ensure educational continuity. We take this sad opportunity to reaffirm that all education and state actors must continue their efforts to standardize schools and strengthen children’s safety in places of learning.