Christmas and a Year in the Life of EMCI

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It’s that time of the year again. When we begin to look back at the previous 12 months and prepare for the start of another journey around the sun. To wrap up 2015, this post will cover our activities for the months of November and December while doing a photo recap of the year gone by. We will also highlight some of our major milestones, including presenting a summary listing of our media mentions.

Here we go!

November 2015 with EMCI

Relocated schoolchildren’s acclimation to their new communities 

  • Currently, EMCI has facilitated the relocation of 31 internally displaced and/or orphaned children from Borno and Adamawa States to seven different schools in Jos, Abuja and Abeokuta.
  • There was a degree of apprehensiveness among a few of them when they first came, but these brave young ones soldiered on.
  • Some were able to come “home” in Jos for a midterm break towards the end of the month. There was much to celebrate as they are becoming more and more of a family.

Growing number of children at the lesson centers in Adamawa & Borno states

  • The EMCI “lesson centers” have accommodated an increasing intake of children who have been out of school in the affected regions.
  • Currently, the Adamawa location has around eight hundred children whereas the one in Borno state has over two thousand. In each of this centers, we had initially planned to accommodate no more than a couple hundred.
  • Please pray for desks and adequate classroom materials for the lesson centers in addition a continuation of funding for the teachers’ stipends. Contact information for those interested in contributing is provided at the end of this newsletter.

Continued financial contributions from near and afar 

  • We want to recognize and appreciate the cash donations received from UK philanthropists. By God’s grace, some of our founders will be visiting them in early January.

Acceptance into a higher institution of one relocated schoolchild

  • One of our relocated daughters to Jos was formally accepted into a leadership institute to pursue a course leading to national diploma in community health!

EMCI USA Schoolgirls

  • There was much activity on the other side of the pond involving our twelve schoolgirls in the States. Most of them celebrated their first American Thanksgiving with host sponsors there, while the familiar few showed them the ropes around how to tackle turkey roast.
  • The girls continue to improve in their schoolwork, and are making new friends and connections as they progress through life in their new found home.

December 2015 with EMCI

Relocated schoolchildren were able to go home for the holidays

  • After completing their first semester “at-board”, the kids were sent home to be with their families for Christmas.
  • Medical treatment was provided to one who had post-traumatic stress-related symptoms.
Smiles from the Jos students prior to Christmas Break

Newspaper and media metions

During the month, a couple media outlets published articles with EMCI being referenced. Check them out:

  • Morgan Winsor’s article highlights the devastation by Boko Haram on the education sector. Read it here.
  • Following her trip to the Northeast with our founders from a few months back, Paul from Christian Science Monitor published her article. Read it here.
  • In response to a report by UNICEF saying that Boko Haram violence has forced 1 million children out of school, Teo Kermeliotis, a deputy online editor for Al Jazeera Media network interviewed our founder and published this article: read it here.

Oversight trip to EMCI lesson centers in the Northeast

  • In line with regular school scheduling, the lesson centers closed for Christmas and New Years, marking the end of the semester.
  • Our founders, Paul and Rebecca Gadzama were on hand to oversee the closing ceremonies as well as to pay the teachers’ stipends and provide gift items to victims of the insurgency there.
  • At Adamawa, there was prize giving for the end of the term. The top three children in each class were awarded prizes. That’s kindergarten one through three, primary one through form six (grades one to six), and JSS1 through SS3 (Seventh to twelfth grades). The top student received an additional gift of a Christmas card.
  • At Borno State, there was a football (soccer) match held between children of the host community vs. the children of the surrounding environs. The real winner was EMCI.
  • Awards were presented there as well, and a full-fledged end of year party was celebrated. Admonishments were dolled out to deserving individuals and stipends were paid including additional Christmas bonuses.
  • The figure at the close of school was 788 in Adamawa, an increase from 400 just a few months prior. People had been urged to return home on the premise that the insurgency had been cleared. However, they were forced to come back to IDP/refugee status because there was no home to go to…
Our Founders Addressing the Lesson Center in Adamawa
EMCI founders presenting Christmas gifts to children at the Adawama lesson center at the end of year ‘ceremony’
EMCI founders presenting Christmas gifts to children at the Adawama lesson center at the end of year ‘ceremony’ (2)
EMCI lesson teachers receiving their salaries at the end of the term
Food items being prepared for the children and staff at EMCI lesson center, Adamawa
Food time!
Christmas Party at EMCI lesson center
EMCI founders and staff, Adamawa Lesson Center
Paul Gadzama adressing staff, members, students, and well wishers prior to kickoff of the match
Prayers being said at the EMCI lesson center, Borno
A photo with the vigilante security personnel at the Borno lesson center
A photo with the vigilante security personnel at the Borno lesson center
Closing remarks

EMCI USA and the overseas schoolgirls 

  • Perhaps the biggest milestone achieved was the formal acceptance into colleges (degree courses) by three of the trans-Atlantic schoolgirls. These girls have barely spent a year overseas; one of whom is an escaped Chibok Schoolgirl, the other was only recently admitted into high school there in September. Pray that we get scholarships to sponsor them. Please see our contact at the end of this newsletter if you are interested in helping.
  • As the year rounded up, the girls placed in host families for Christmas, while a couple of them remained at their schools.
  • Finally, our resident human rights attorney and co-founder Emmanuel was recognized as a hero of the year by the Darfur Women’s Action Group for his tireless advocacy to the plight of the still missing Chibok girls and against the insurgency in Norheastern Nigeria. Read more about this award here.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Here is a photo recap of EMCI from inception to date:

Media Mentions

If We Run and They Kills Us, so be it, But We Have to Run Now (Published October 14th, 2014 by Sarah Topol, Medium)

Boko Haram Escapees to Start Education in the US (Published December 25th, 2014 by Tomi Oladipo, BBC)

The Girls Who Escaped: One Year Afer the Kidnapping, Some Chibok Schoolgirls have left Nigeria (Published April 13th, 2015 by Sally Hayden, Vice News)

Chibok Girls Abduction One Year Later: European Union Delegation in Nigeria Remembers (Published April 14th, 2015 by Modupe Omopintemi, CNN iReport)

Capitol Hill Lawmakers Meet the ‘Malala of Africa’ (Published April 16th, 2015 by Julia Craven, Huffington Post)

Traumatized by Boko Haram, Kidnapped Girls fire on Rescuers (Published April 30th, 2015 by Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post)

 Denied Education by Boko Haram, Nigerian Kids make do in Derelict Schools (Published June 12th, 2015 by Chika Oduah, Al Jazeera)

Nigeria’s Chibok Girls Find New Start in US (Published August 30th, 2015 by Chika Oduah, Al Jazeera USA)

Salome, a Chibok Girl who Escaped Boko Haram Shares at #UpForSchool Town Hall (Published September 28th, 2015 by A World At School

A Chibok Girl Recalls Her Escape from Boko Haram (Published September 30th, 2015 by Staff, Women in the World in association with the New York Times)

Hon. Robert Idoko/Family Flag off Education Support Program as a Foundation (Published October 7th, 2015 by Engr. Dan Atayi, IPN News)

Chibok Girls in America Ask US Govt to Grant Student Visa to Escape Leader on One and a Half Year Anniversary of Abduction (Published October 15th, 2015 by Emmanuel Ogebe, IPN News)

Nigeria’s Education Crisis: Boko Haram Targeting Schools, Teachers, Students is Devastating Africa’s Largest Economy (Published December 2nd, 2015 by Morgan Winsor, International Business Times)

In War with Boko Haram, Nigerians Battle to Keep Classroom Door Open (Published December 7th, 2015 by Paula Rogo, the Christian Science Monitor)

Virginia Man Opens his Home to Boko Haram Victims (Published December 8th, 2015 by Allison Seymour, Fox 5)

One Million Forced from School by Boko Haram War (Published December 23rd, 2015 by Teo Kermeliotis

Bring Our Girls Back to School; A Project by GOFundMe (Supported news links at the bottom of the page)

You may contact us on our Facebook page or through our email (pmgadzama@yahoo.com or info@emcinitiative.org) if you are interested in supporting any one of our efforts.

education must continue

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