Noura

Hi, I'm Noura (new-RAH) – Abida's big brother. I'm 16 years old. Abida and I have another brother, Douda, but he's married and doesn't live with us any more.

School

There's no secondary school in our small village of 1,500 people. So nine months of the year I'm at boarding school in another town, a day's journey away. To get there I walk 18 kilometres to a village on the main road. Then I pay for a ride the last 24 kilometres.

Few young people have the opportunity to go to secondary school in Niger, my country. In fact only 6 out of every 100. So I'm very fortunate. When I finish school I'd like a government job as an agricultural and livestock worker.

Noura takes care of the family animals
Noura takes care of the family animals

Family life

When at home I help look after the family livestock. We have goats, sheep, chickens, a cow and one horse. If there is grass growing in the pastures, I take them out to graze and then to the well for water. Other times I bring the water and grass to the animals. They are kept in the family courtyard, so it's important to sweep away the manure each day.

The animals are like our family bank account. When we need money for something, like paying school fees or a family celebration, we sell one of them at the market.

School holidays happen at harvest time, so students from farms, like me, can go home and help with the harvest. The millet stalks are cut and stored in the family grain storage hut. It's called a roumbou.

Making a living

Noura plays soccer with his friends
Noura plays soccer with his friends

To help pay for my school fees and earn money for my family, I run a small store in the village during my school holidays. I sell things like, sugar, tea, sweets and matches. I'm 'open' every day. I carry the key around with me everywhere, and people come and find me if they want something and I'm not there. My best customers are the young kids buying sweets. On a good day I can make 1,500 francs (NZ$6).

Having fun

In my spare time, like most teenagers I hang out with my friends. We talk about this and that. The problem we face is poverty – very little money to improve our lives. My dream is to live in Niamey, the capital city of Niger, with my own house and my own car. My friends and I also enjoy playing football. I like to ride our horse too when it's not being used for something else.

Find out more about my sister Abida, my mother Halima, or my father Mallam.