1.3 million children have been forced to flee their homes from conflict in North East Nigeria. Three million children can't go to school. Hundreds are facing starvation every day. Many are struggling in temporary camps where disease and hunger are rife.
Conflict in North East Nigeria has led to the active targeting of education. Millions of children are now deprived of the chance to go to school. In Borno state, three in five schools are closed and over 19,000 teachers have been displaced from their classrooms.
Education, child protection and emergency support is the key to helping these children to rebuild their lives. Street Child is supporting thousands of conflict-impacted children to go back to school and receive help with psychological and social issues.
CEO Tom Dannatt said: "with the world’s highest number of out of school children, Nigeria makes sense for Street Child ... We have the capability to give these forgotten children, hope for their futures - like we did after Ebola in West Africa and the Nepal earthquake. We can help turn their lives around."
What We Do.
Street Child is currently working to re-establish education for 23,000 children across the three North-eastern states in Nigeria. Operating through an integrated child protection and education approach, we work with the community and provide clear support networks to make children feel safe and protected, with a chance to go to school long-term.
As well as developing the infrastructure and environment for a safe and inclusive education in emergency, we are working to tackle some of the barriers children face in accessing schooling. As a result of the crisis, thousands of families have lost their businesses, land and livelihoods. Street Child are providing micro-enterprise loans and mentoring to support mothers and foster parents to setup businesses so they can afford to feed, clothe, and educate their children.
Child protection is a serious concern in an emergency – particularly one characterised by the targeting and abduction of children. Street Child is being supported by the UN (through the Nigerian Humanitarian Fund) to build a sustainable response to these issues. We are setting up Child-Friendly Spaces where 18,000 children can play, and receive counselling; staffed by community volunteers who have been trained by our counsellors and professional mental health staff. These spaces are supported by professional social workers who can help provide services to children that have more severe conditions.
We also want to help children reconnect with their families, and reintegrate into society if they have been associated with armed groups. To this end, we have a team of specialised Family Tracing and Reunification officers who can travel the country, ensure child safety, and work to find parents that may have been lost in the turmoil.
Families have lost so much during the conflict, some cannot even feed their children all the time. This means that children are pulled out of school to support the family income, or help feed themselves. To combat this situation, we are providing over 300 vulnerable mothers and foster parents with vocational skills training - including baking, sewing and soap making - and business grants so they can setup sustainable businesses. As part of the programme, their children also received school materials such as bags, exercise books, pencils and pens, rubber and shoes so they could return to school and have hope for the future. We have seen that this has immediate results. The foster parents are able to save every week, and are committed to keeping their children in school.
EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES
Supported by UNICEF, Street Child and five local partners are constructing 60 temporary learning centres across 30 communities. For some children, this is their first opportunity to enter a classroom in over three years. We are training community volunteers as classroom assistants for these centres and setting up community committees for education.
We are also providing training on Education in Emergency to 400 school teachers, so they are better equipped to deal with children who have experienced trauma. We are renovating 120 primary school classrooms that have been damaged by on-going conflict, and providing books, pens and education materials to 23,000 children, to encourage them to stay in school, even in the difficult and sometimes insecure circumstances they find themselves in.
Stories From Our Work.
ELIZABETH, THE MOTHER WHO IS REBUILDING HER LIFE SO HER CHILDREN CAN GO TO SCHOOL
Elizabeth grew up in Goza, Borno State, and lived there with her husband and six children. In Goza, Elizabeth's family were safe and happy. Her husband worked as a farmer on a small plot of land, whilst Elizabeth ran a petty trading business. All her children were able to go to school.
In 2014 everything changed. Due to conflict, Elizabeth was forced to flee her village with her family. After two months of travelling, they arrived in Abuja, and were settled in the Kuchingoro Displaced Persons' Camp. Unable to continue her business due to high costs, Elizabeth and her family were completely dependent on external support.
Thanks to our supporters, we have helped Elizabeth to start a sustainable business - and now all of her children are back in school too.
ABU, THE BOY WHO LOST HIS FAMILY AND HAS NO-ONE TO HELP HIM
Abu was born in Gamboru, Borno State. He lost both his parents to conflict in the region. Fleeing his home, he eventually arrived in Maidaguri, the state capital. Abdul was alone, knew no one, and had no where to go for food, shelter or school.
Today, Abu lives with 20 other children in a displaced persons camp in the city, with little external support. When asked about his chances for the future, he says "there is no food, no shelter, come rain come shine we will always be here under this tree."
Over 20,000 children like Abu are unaccompanied after being orphaned or separated from their parents and are fighting to survive. We are desperate to connect them with families, protect them from danger and help them go to school.