Hello and welcome to another session with us, here at Education Must Continue Initiative. Our activities in the past month and a half since our last blogpost have taken us from the outskirts of the Sambisa Forest in the troubled Borno state, to Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Here we go again…
Jos to Yola to Lassa and back Trip (Below is a detailed itinerary of the trip)
Aug 25, 2015
– Departed Jos for Yola (Paul & Rebecca Gadzama, Paula the journalist from Christian Science Monitor)
Aug 26, 2015
At EMCI School, Yola (Paul, Rebecca, Paula)
– Met 29 teachers (word had gone out that the founders would be coming)
– Over 100 students just playing at school
– Had a meeting with the teachers and school administrators
Aug 26, 2015
At Lassa (Paul, Rebecca, Paula, Raheema, Solomon – youth/vigilante leader)
Donations of EMCI Materials
o 2 small First aid boxes to vigilantes
o 2 large green medical bags
o 1 trauma kit § 2 small first aid kits
o 2 cartons of mana nutrition foods
* All handed over to the chief nursing officer of Lassa General Hospital
– Found hospital building completely destroyed by BH
– Remains of those very sick patients who could not run, felled down barely outside the hospital were still lying around
– There were only 3 staff
– No office
Lassa Town Destruction
– Almost 2/3 of the town is burned and fallen to the ground
– None of the 15 churches are standing!
– Lassa main EYN church recently expanded to include primary and junior secondary schools is gone
– All of the missionary-erected buildings have been completely dilapidated
– Very few people, mostly women and children
– No school for the past 3 years!
– No serious farming as no one can go far from home
– High level of malnutrition
– Produced hundreds of educationalists
– Provide huge technocrats to the Borno state and Federal Government
Raheema’s Project: educationisforbidden.com
– Expressed her desire to liase with EMCI
– Promised her possible collaboration in the very near future
First Sighting of my Destroyed House and Compound ~ Paul and Rebecca Gadzama – Paul, Rebecca, Paula, Raheema (Photographer), 3 vigilantes and Lassa Commander
– Met step mother-in-law, Lydia Mele and 3 aunts
– Shocked at the level of devastation
– Shown some of our broken utensils
– Prayed for God to heal our land
– Made more commitment to build education and to pray for true religion of peace which is in Jesus
– Took off for Yola at 5:30 pm
Aug 26, 2015
– The BH bombed bridge, forcing all vehicles to go locally on wooden bridge
– Arrived Yola at 9:18 pm
– Took off back to Jos the following morning
1 Month in the New School for 5 Girls in the U.S.
We celebrated 1 month of being in the new school for 5 of the secondary/high school Chibok girls in the U.S. in Mid Septebmer.
Received Donations of Books from Several Different Sources
Towards the end of August, there was a donation of hundreds of books, journals, and educational materials from three independent sources in Nigeria. Some of these have already been allocated and distributed to the IDP camp school in Yola.
Got Placement for 9 kids (2 boys and 7 girls) from Primary to Secondary School at 4 Different Institutions in Jos and Abuja Plus Additional Spots for 10 others
We have been given 3 spots at for 2 boys BH ophaned boys aged 18, 11 and a girl, 8 years. Another orphaned girl will report to a college in Jos to start Diploma in community health on Oct 5th. She has 6 credits prior to enrollment.
We are expecting 15 kids from Borno. Another college is is giving EMCI 10 spots .
We also conducted trauma and healing counselling sessions for the children that recently arrived from Northern Nigeria.
Donations of Toiletries and other Basic Items from “Project Aloe”
A fellow Nigerian American, Ms. Jumoke Dada, founder “Project ALOE” visited with and donated toiletries and shirts to some of the Chibok girls in the States. Project ALOE, along with its community partners, supports and encourages college bound girls by providing beauty essentials and education at a send-off event in honor of their achievements while modeling the importance of giving back to others.
Project ALOE was founded by Jumoke K. Dada, the creative director of Signature RED a marketing and communications company that specializes in women-targeted marketing. In 2010, Ms. Dada felt compelled to give back to young women and as a result, created Project A.L.O.E – Assisting Ladies by Offering Essentials.
We are grateful for the shared openness and commitment to paying to forward, in way or another to young girls whose futures we can positively impact.
Celebrated 1 Year at School in the U.S. for the First Batch of Girls
The month of September also marked the 1 year anniversary of four Chibok schoolgirls’ entry to the U.S. This was more or less, where it all began for EMCI.
Another Denial of visa by U.S. Consulate in Nigeria to a Chibok Escapee
On a sadder note however, the Chibok schoolgirl who had previously been denied a visa to go and continue her studies in the U.S. was yet again denied a visa. This time, it was a visitors visa to attend an education event in New York sponsored by the U.N. in conjunction with several other NGO’s. She was meant to be an education advocate, but as circumstances beyond our control hindered this dream from becoming a reality.
We will continue to strive for her and ensure she is able to attain the quality education she deserves.
Another BH Victim got a Visa to the U.S.
Finally, on a much lighter note, we do have something to celebrate from the U.S. Consulate in Nigeria. The daughter of a high profile Christian leader from the Northeast whose father was murdered by BH has had her visa successfully processed to continue her education in the U.S. Her studies in the new town she was relocated to, Yola, was disturbed by bombings and a series of attacks from BH. She felt unsafe and feared going to school following the attacks.
Thank you for taking the time to share with us in this stage of the journey. Till the next one.