Benin Projects: Open Arms School and Cercle Social


In partnership with Bras Ouverts – Open Arms (BOOA) launching the Brighten Up BOOA initiative, Documentary education photography for Givology with Cercle Social in Benin, AfricaCercle Social is launching the One Hundred Lights in the Cercle (OHLC).

The One Hundred Lights in the Cercle is a Cercle Social initiative to light the way towards academic success for students in the communities of Zè and Tori in Bénin, Africa. Bénin, a west African country located on the gulf of Benin is a developing country, home to a little over 10 millions inhabitants.

The main mission of the organization is to improve access to education to disadvantaged youth in Benin (West Africa). We believe access to education can be the key factor in changing the trajectory of life for the young people in Benin. We also know that the education system in Benin must evolve. Currently, the teaching style in Bénin schools is mostly theoretical. We are addressing both these points by creating greater access to education for rural youth and young women, and adding practical avenues for education in technology services (an emerging industry in Benin). Cercle Social covers the school tuition and fees for disadvantaged students in the high schools of Tori Agouako, Zè, Sèdjè Denou and Gbéto  in Benin. The scholarship recipients are girls and boys in middle school and high school. The organization impacts the school through several projects started since 2010.

The development of urban infrastructures outside of the biggest cities is next to nonexistent when compared to the urbanisation planning experienced in developed countries. As a result, families live in houses with no electricals and students go to schools with selected access to electricity leaving most classrooms with no electrical capacity. The absence of public libraries to study after school or in the evening using electrical light leaves students with little to no recourse to  academically speaking maximize their evenings after the sun has gone out. Out of school studying and the completion of homework are essential to students academic health and success. As a result students from these communities experience greater challenges with the absorption of schools materials, the passing of grades and of nationals exams.

The OHLC initiative will provide one portable solar lamp to each of the students we serve in the four (4) schools.

With their lights, students will be able to do their homeworks, read and study in the evenings at home without additional hardships being experienced by the family to secure alternate and unaffordable solutions to support their children.

Bring the sun to their nights! Donate today.


By: Kathleen Bush-Joseph                                                                                                     September, 2016

In 2010, Remedy Sueza started teaching because his community needed him. After fleeing violent untitled-1conflicts arising from destructive oil drilling in Nigeria, Remedy and thousands of others sought refuge in Ouidah, Benin. Lacking French language skills and facing local discrimination, the refugee community needed educational opportunities for their children, and Remedy took up the charge.

Now called Bras Ouverts – Open Arms (BOOA), Remedy’s school has continued to grow despite significant challenges, such as a lack of electricity. Thus, BOOA’s main aim is to establish a sustainably financed school that provides a free education for refugees and marginalized Beninese children in Ouidah.

With your support, BOOA seeks to illuminate the school and distribute lights to families that also lack electricity, which will open a new world of possibilities for our students and the surrounding community. In total, we plan to distribute 100 lights around Ouidah.

At the school, we will use the lights to expand our after-school programming and tutoring for the children. Moreover, lights will accelerate our progress towards sustainable financing. Adults in the community have asked that we hold English classes at night, and with solar lamps, we will be able to promptly respond. By charging a small fee for these classes, we will then generate income that will be applied directly to teachers’ salaries and school supplies.

A light donation will also substantially improve the situation of marginalized families in Ouidah. Alongside children from the refugee community, BOOA welcomes impoverished Beninese students because some local families cannot afford public school fees and materials. Many these families lack electricity because of the prohibitively high cost in Ouidah. Therefore, if you donate a light, many more children will be able to do their homework after school, and families will be able to work and cook into the night.

Additionally, BOOA will use the lights as an informational tool for those who are interested in learning more about renewable energy sources. By highlighting the health benefits alongside the economic ones, we hope to build support for sustainable energy supplies in Ouidah. Indeed, in the long term, BOOA seeks to install a solar system to power the entire school.

In sum, your support will help propel students and their families towards brighter futures through both education and empowerment. Please donate today!



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