Niagalen is a fourteen year-old 9th grader at Mali Rising Foundation's Frances W. Burton Middle School. Niagalen's favorite subjects are chemistry and physics, although she says she is the best in her class at history and geography. Niagalen would like to go on to university and ultimately become a medical doctor.
However, Niagalen is afraid she'll be married to an unsupportive husband before she can achieve her dreams. In Mali, 15 percent of girls are married before their fifteenth birthday and 50 percent are married by the time they are eighteen.
Niagalen says: "I'm scared of being married before finishing my studies. There are husbands who accept that their wife continues with her studies to help him to improve their living conditions. But [others do] not agree that their wife continues to study due to [fears she will] compare her status with a non-educated husband. For my hand I would like to meet one who knows the values a woman educated for to let me to continue my studies."
Mali Rising Foundation helps keep girls in school. Most fundamentally, we do this by bringing schools close to home for girls, making it easier and safer for them to continue to attend school. In addition, we work to provide safe, girl-friendly schools that allow girls to grow up and learn.