Introducing Alhassane:

“My name is Alhassane. I am 15 years old.  I am from the site of Tebremt, town of Gossi in the region of Timbuktu.  I have completed school up to the level of 6th grade.  I now live in Mentao Refugee Camp with my mother and my grandparents.  I like painting and drawing.  In the future I would like to become the director of a school.”

Christina’s observations: We fondly call Alhassane the bandit of the group – it’s true he does things that are unabashedly big no no’s – stealing other student’s materials, making lots of noise during class … but at the same time I can’t help but feel warm towards him.  I think this is because he’s a genuinely friendly guy.  He also has been really helpful in doing the first coat of paint on the wall.  I love that he rolls up to class haphazardly on his bicycle with his bag that he made, feathers and scraps of fabric flying from it.  He’s also notable as one of the only kids in the group from the Bellah ethnic group, a darker skinned group of people who have historically, and still do, work as servants/slaves for the Touareg.  It was a battle to have the Bellah represented in the program, and I feel lucky to have his views and opinions expressed in the project.

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