A Student's Question: Why don't they move?

Recently, a student from the Monocacy Valley Montessori Public Charter School in Frederick, Maryland wrote a letter to Ariane. After hearing students from the Oneness-Family School present Amman Imman at her school, she wanted to help. She had a question:
I do not understand why the people in the Azawak region, if they are nomadic, do not move to a location that is closer to water or health care. I was wondering if you could explain this to me.
Ariane's response:
Thank you for your message and contacting me directly. I'm so pleased that you were touched by the plight of the people of the Azawak, and that you would like to help.

Now to answer your question, why don't they move? This is a good question. There are many answers...

The first is that there are 500,000 people, and at least 100,000 or more animals living in the Azawak. They are far too many in number to simply just pick up and move. There is already overcrowding in the cities, and other areas of Niger and so imagine what it would be like if they all went and took over other people's land and homes. The other people would not likely be very welcoming! When you have this many people move out of a region to another country, they are called refugees. When you have this many people move out of their region to another region in the same country due to political, environmental, or other factors for which they have no control, they are called internally displaced persons. Neither situation is acceptable in terms of human rights, and is a situation that all governments try to avoid whenever possible.

The second reason that they do not want to move is that the Azawak is their home. Imagine if you were told to move from your home, the same place your mother and grandparents grew up, and their grandparents, ect, ect... you probably wouldn't want to move. You would be attached to the land, and would hope that the government would help you cover your basic human needs (food, water, shelter) so that you could remain at home. People do not want to leave their home, the best pasture land in Niger for their animals. Nevertheless, they are leaving the Azawak, they are becoming refugees elsewhere, they are abandoning the only land they can call theirs because they do not have water to drink. Is this right? Is this the best solution? To cause overcrowding in other areas, and to force people to abandon the only home they have? Or is it better to improve their conditions so that they can continue living in their home?

I've chosen the second option, and I hope that you can help us improve life in the Azawak so that the people don't have to leave their home, and so that refugees and internally displaced persons can have a home to go back to.

Thank you! Please spread the word... and be in touch with students and teachers at the Oneness Family School.



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