Building to Preserve West African Cultural Heritage

Gift of the Givers is embarking on its biggest project yet in West Africa: the establishment of one of the first women’s Islamic institutes in Mauritania. 

Madrassah al-Umm wa al-Tifl (School for the Mother and Child) in Matamoulana, a desert village in the south east of Mauritania, needs a building for their school, kindergarten and skills development training.                               

Gift of the Givers is committed to provide them with a sacred space that will enable them to continue their Islamic and cultural legacy: the memorisation of the Quran and various other Islamic science texts, predominantly in the form of poetry.

Work has already begun and no donation is too small.  Help us to preserve this unique legacy for generations to come.

Why this is important

1.  It’s a cultural heritage project

Nowhere in the Islamic world is the memorization of the Quran and sacred texts as prolific as in Mauritania.  The mahdhara system has been running in Mauritania for hundreds of years: students study a subject text with a teacher; the text is explained and memorized; the text is usually studied in the form of poetry, transmitted orally and delivered

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Context and Gift of the Givers involvement in Mauritania

Mauritania, located in West Africa, is one of the world’s poorest countries and is ranked 161 out of 187 on the 2014 UNDP Human Development Index. It has a population of 3.5 million people (July 2014 Est), half of whom depend on livestock and agriculture for a livelihood. The southern area of the country is part of the Sahel region, which also includes Chad, Mali, Gambia, Senegal, Burkina Faso,

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About the School for the Mother and Child

Madressah Al-Umm wa al-Tifl (School for the Mother and Child) was officially opened in 2004.


  • There are no entry or age requirements; no fees; no registration.
  • Quran and various Islamic texts (mutoon) are taught to students, from beginner to advanced levels.
  • There are daily, weekly and bi-monthly lectures or sessions.
  • Subjects taught:Recitation of Quran in Warsh, Qaloon and Hafs,
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