Aïssatou Cissoko is about to take her final school-leaving examinations. This is certainly not an everyday occurrence in Guinea where not all children of school age go to school and where only half of all girls make it past year 6. Thanks to the supplemental teaching programme specifically for socially disadvantaged girls that GIZ is providing on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Aïssatou Cissoko has managed to catch up quickly. Some 11,000 girls have benefited from this programme over the past ten years.
After I leave school I’d like to go to university to study medicine. I’d like to treat the weak and help heal the sick. My favourite subject at school is biology, and English too. I’ve liked those subjects ever since I was at primary school. In biology I’m now learning about the human organs; I’m sure that will come in useful when I get to university.
I have three younger and two older siblings and I live with my mother and grand-mother. My mom supports me. She says I should go to school and take the extra lessons. I only help out at home with the domestic chores at the weekend or when I don’t have any more homework to do.
The lessons take place twice a week in the afternoon. There are always two teachers there. One explains the subject to us at the blackboard while the other works with us in groups. Every group wants to be the best. The teachers give us a maths challenge, for example. We read it out loud and try to solve it. Or we read French texts. We also go outside into the school playground where we sit in a circle and recite poems or rhymes. In that way we learn how to speak French in front of a larger group of people.
I have three proper friends in the supplemental teaching class. I get on well with them because we share the same concerns and because we don’t always get great marks at school. I can talk to them openly and they’re certainly not lazy; on the contrary, we spur each other on. The classes are also attended by girls who before only stayed at home and have never been to school.
Happiness for me is being content, working and helping my family and others.