Street Child Launches BBC Radio 4 Appeal
On Sunday 5th May 2019 British journalist and foreign correspondent, Colin Freeman, launched Street Child’s BBC Radio 4 Appeal, talking about the impact of Boko Haram and our work in Nigeria to help those affected by the extremist group to rebuild their lives and to provide children with an education.
In the appeal, Colin tells the story of 16 year old Fatima* who was abducted by Boko Haram and held captive for 5 years.
‘We were running away from Boko Haram. They found us on the road, and that’s when they slaughtered my father in front of me.’
Fatima was just 11 years old when she was abducted by Boko Haram militants.
‘They flogged me every day. All over my body. Once a day we would get a meal of boiled sorghum mixed with sand.’
Underneath her scarf, Fatima wears the horrific scars of the beatings she endured throughout the five years she was held by Boko Haram.
‘Then one day the army arrived. There was a fire and gunshots everywhere and then we were rescued. They told us to run, so I ran. I was so happy! Then they brought me here to the IDP camp. They gave me clothes to wear.’
Fatima has received treatment from Street Child psychosocial counsellors in order for her to come to terms with her traumatic experiences.
‘The counselling sessions have helped me re-adjust to life after my experience with Boko Haram. It has helped me settle down, to face the reality of my life, to focus, to look forward.’
Fatima is now going to school for the first time - she attends Street Child’s Temporary Learning Centre within the IDP camp.
‘I’m so grateful. Now I know A, I know B, I know C. Every day I am happy, I am smiling, I am free! I am comfortable. My education has helped me move on. It has helped me pick up my life.’
One day, Fatima would like to be a doctor so she can help people.
Since 2016, Street Child has been working to to re-establish education for 23,000 children across the three North-eastern states in Nigeria which are worst-impacted by the on-going conflict. Operating through an integrated child protection and education approach, Street Child works with the community and provides clear support networks to make children feel safe and protected and to give them a chance to go to school and learn.
As well as developing the infrastructure and environment for a safe and inclusive education in an emergency setting, we are working to tackle the barriers children face in accessing schooling.
With your help we can continue to help those affected by the Boko Haram insurgency to rebuild their lives and provide children just like Fatima with an education.
To listen to the appeal and Fatima’s story in full please visit: https://www.street-child.co.uk/street-child-bbc-radio-4-appeal
* Having bravely shared her story about her Boko Haram experiences, we have changed Fatima’s name to ensure her safety.