Hello and welcome to Education Must Continue Initiative’s Newsletter. Due to some technical issues, we were unable to update the blog for over a year. However, these have been resolved now and we plan to update this blog on a monthly basis, going forward.
The last update we posted was Summer 2016. Since then, there have been a lot of new and exciting developments both in Nigeria and in the U.S. Here are several, to mention a few:
- In 2017, we graduated our second set of 25 Senior Secondary School (High School) graduates at EMCI School Yola. Many of the graduates have enrolled in higher institutions of learning. We are currently working on getting certification as an approved JAMB test site. Meanwhile, EMCI School Lassa graduated its second set of pupils and now has 75 students in JSS 1 and JSS2. The school has now been expanded to two sites to accommodate for Junior and Senior Secondary Schools. Current student enrollment at both sites is 750.
- US Placement Program: In 2017, two Chibok Schoolgirls who had escaped from their captors in 2014 successfully graduated high school. They have since completed their first year and a half of college. Another GGSS Chibok escapee has also completed two years of College; she had graduated high school half a year before her former classmates. In partnership with a Church of the Brethren University located in the United States West Coast, EMCI has placed two other victims to complete their four-year degree program both of whom shall graduate this year, 2019.
- The Nigerian Placement Program has seen academic progress among the students. From inception in 2014, we had relocated and placed 35 schoolchildren from North Eastern Nigeria in the program at 7 different schools in Central and South Western Nigeria to continue their education. Two have completed their National Diploma programs and another two are awaiting admission into university degree programs, while several others have already enrolled into some higher institutions. A few have of them have either transferred out or returned home. Of the remaining 16 in the program, all have successfully been promoted to higher grade levels, respectively. There are now two in Primary School (Elementary), five in Junior Secondary School (Middle School), six in Senior Secondary School (High School), and three in higher institutions. When we first started, no student tested into Senior Secondary School; most of them were reading at Primary School Levels with three reading at Nursery School Level.
Following a three-week stint at home, 17 children schooling in central Nigeria returned from their Christmas holidays (see pictures below). The three schools, St. Pirans, Messiah College, and St. Luke’s all resumed on the same day, Saturday January 6th. There was needed coordination between Beckie (founder) and Heriju (logistics and reporting) to get them to each of the schools, as Paul (founder) was out of town that weekend. Hannatu, Grace, and Helen, the three day students also resumed on Monday, January 8th at Favored Christian Schools. The girls are growing more confident in their command of English. When they come back from school, they challenge themselves practicing English while correcting each other’ grammar and pronunciations.
Some pictures of the Placement Schoolchildren prior to return to their various schools
EMCI School: Yola
The school in Yola resumed on January 9th with a population of 601 pupils. The security situation at home has not improved. Parents left their wards in Yola to continue their education at EMCI School as IDPs while they returned to try and resume their farming occupation they had been deprived of for years.
As a result of growing prominence of the EMCI Schools through the individual support from Co-Founders and the Church of the Brethren (COB), Victim’s Support Fund (VSF) got interested and donated 1,600 schools bags as well as several cartons of essential primary and secondary school textbooks. The subjects include: Chemistry, Physics, Geography, Biology, English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Christian Religion Studies, Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning, and dictionaries. The total number of textbooks donated were 3,201. They also donated stationary like biros, pencils, and rulers and chalk board cleaner and eraser, and colored pastels for arts class. In addition, VSF contributed to paying teacher stipend for up to 6 months, from January to June 2018. They also erected temporary classrooms with tents, and supplied classroom desks.
Back at our national office in Central Nigeria, we are sorting donated by BOOKS FOR AFRICA USA for onward forwarding to the schools. A database with references was developed and shared with Pat Krabacher (COB) as she helped to ensure that EMCI got some of these books from the donor (see photos below).
EMCI School: Lassa
The school resumed on 9th January. The entire population is 750 from Primary 1 to 6 and JSS1.
Micro-nutrients supplement drinks were also supplied to the students to assess 100 students’ response after intake; metrics include group work and in-class contribution as well as physical attributes such as height and weight. It was administered from January to March, after which they were reassessed. ( delete this and to be replaced with a write up from mom on the whole micro nutrients program)
We have 23 teaching staff and 2 watchmen, and one medical staff, 27 staff total. The overall feedback from teaching staff is that they are cooperating, both in punctuality and executing their duties.
At the end of the month, 750 students total were registered and enrolled back to the school. This coincides with 750 who had gone for Christmas holidays in December.
Chibok Schoolgirls/EMCI USA
We had the joy of hosting Hauwa and Mary (now in university in Adamawa). They shared their recently received awards in sports and in the classroom with us. Mary is becoming quite the all-rounder, with recognition for her academic strives and physical fitness achievements.
Deborah and Grace (now at universities in the U.S.) returned for the first time to renew their visas and spent Christmas and New Year 2018 with us in Nigeria. They were able to travel home and spend time with their families; each were in Borno for Christmas and New Year’s days. They came back in early January and subsequently returned to the U.S. at separate times (see photo below).
Finally, in Mid-January, we had a productive meeting with the Victims’ Support Fund in Abuja (see photo below).
This month, the placement schoolchildren had a week-long midterm break from the 17th to the 24th. St. Luke’s Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary students, except for the SS3 students were given a break, and they came to the house in central Nigeria to exercise that period. During that time, three girls schooling at Favored Sister’ Girls School had tests in their individual primary school subject areas, specifically, English, Math’s, Social Studies, Christian Religious Studies (CRS), Agricultural Science, Creative Arts, Basic Science, and Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Computer Science. On February, 17th, along with the Favored Sisters’ Girls school, Paul & Rebecca paid a visit to the 2 girls at St. Piran’s School. The primary school girls were excited to see their big sisters (who they refer to as ‘aunty’) in their “school natural habitat”.
Earlier in the month, on February 1st, we shared a couple evenings with Pat Krabacher, a volunteer with Church of the Brethren, USA. She had just returned from a trip to Kwarhi (EYN Headquarters). The children always enjoy spending time with our partners from oversees.
EMCI School: Yola
Routine academic activities continued as more students returned following resumption last month. Several pupils returned late because they had traveled home, expecting to be able to resume school there, but the security situation hadn’t improved enough to guarantee learning in a safe environment.
The items donated by VSF in January were formally handed over and commissioned. Paul and Rebecca were on hand to receive them on Tuesday, February 6th (see photos below).
Prep was introduced to the school, from 3pm to 5pm, Monday to Friday. After children have finished lessons for the day, gone home and eaten, they come back and have tutorials. They sit one by one and are tutored on individual class levels. The library remains open to them and they have access to the teachers; it is mandatory, and a roster is kept for that.
On Friday 23rd February a child was hit and injured (not fatally though) while crossing the road; she was in primary one. The girl was on her way to the center in the morning. The girl’s leg was broken at her thigh. She was treated at Federal Medical Center (FMC) Yola. Her mother was around, but we were unable to ascertain the whereabouts of her father, while her siblings are very young as well. The Federal Road Safety Corps came and enlightened both the students and staff on crossing the highway. They had been promising to come and the accident happened just before they came. At the end of the month, they also donated one first aid box. In it were spirit, cotton wool, spirit/hydrogen peroxide, one carton of paracetamol, ban-aids, and iodine.
Paul traveled back to the Northeast in late February. While there, he visited with Hauwa and Mary.
At the end of the month, the student population remained at 661. They also still have Grow Right nutrients supplement drink which is being continuously administered to the pupils.
EMCI School: Lassa
12 classroom tents were commissioned and handed over by the Victims’ Support Fund on February 7th, and they also donated 580 school bags. Paul and Rebecca were on site to receive them. In addition, 80 cartons of school chalk, textbooks for Primary 1 through Primary 6 and JSS1, and 10 advanced learner dictionaries were also donated. Other items donated included 7 packets of biros and 21 packets of pencils. One borehole was done at the permanent site and it is fully functioning now; it is a hand pump type of borehole. The PTA also dug one latrine toilet for the school.
On a sad note, we lost a male primary one student as a result of a brief illness; the child died at the General Hospital, Lassa where they diagnosed the illness as high malaria.
We gave our students midterm break from 16th to 22nd February.
God has been faithful as the month of March was marked with progress along academic and interpersonal development of the relocated schoolchildren. Following the resumption of school in late February, all the students who had come home for a brief mid-term break returned and prepared for the 2nd half of the term, which included examinations. The students at Favored Sisters School, St. Luke’s, St. Pirans, and Messiah College all sat for their individual exams, ranging from Primary One to SS2, two weeks before Easter. End of term break started on Monday, March 26th across the four schools. Most of them will be spending their month-long break in central Nigeria, while several went to stay with immediate families and close relatives in another city in central Nigeria. Two girls stayed briefly with us before returning to St. Luke’s to prepare for their Junior WAEC and NECO exams.
As part of providing succor to hurting families from the Boko Haram insurgency, EMCI relocated and assisted a Muslim sibling of two abducted Chibok girls who got enrolled into the Federal College of Veterinary and Medical Laboratory Technology, VOM, Plateau State to continue his education. He hopes to graduate with a National Diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology by 2020.
On Thursday March 15th, we engaged in another year of the “Skype Around the World” meet and greet/show and tell session. The Skype call has become an annual event where students at our home interact with 4th Graders from Todd Flory’s Wheatland Elementary School in Andover, Kansas to share about each other’s culture and education system.
EMCI School: Yola
Routine academic activities continued at EMCI School, Yola.
The recently completed borehole by VSF was worked on this month; they did drilling and an overhead tank was brought. In addition, 5 water taps were constructed and electrical pumps, submersible (SUMO) were installed.
There are 17 students who have registered for their WAEC, which they will sit for on April 10, 2018. There are also 34 students who have registered for JSSCE, and will be sitting for that when the examinations commence sometime in June/July. The school also administered 2nd term examinations from primary one up to SS3; this procedure was completed shortly before Easter, from March 19th to 29th. They vacated on the 30th and resumption will be on April 23rd.
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) returned and painted a Zebra-crossing because of traffic when children were crossing the road. There was one child who has hit in February.
At the end of the month, we still had 661 students.
“The staff are trying their best. It’s only the morale, the issues of financial problem that they have. Things are costly and they don’t have much else doing, but they are managing. Every month, they receive their stipend, even on holidays.” Quote from Principal Solomon
EMCI School: Lassa
In the first week of March, pupils at the EMCI School Lassa started revisions for 2nd term exams. They started exams on the 22nd which ran through to the 27th of March. The center closed on the 28th of March for Easter and end of 2nd term break.
We conducted an evaluation of the micro-nutrients supplement drink Grow Right. Here are observations of some few (10) students started in January; especially those who didn’t want to contribute in class. As of the time of the assessment in March, they exhibited improvement in their interactions and had more contributions. Almost all of the 10 have increased in weight. Some of them had exhibited signs of malnutrition, but since they started taking the supplement drink, those signs have decreased in most of them.
The school is set to resume on 1st May, 2018, as we are working with the regular school calendar that is being utilized by the state and federal government schools.
END OF FIRST QUARTER 2018 NEWSLETTER