April 2016 Newletter

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Hello, happy new month. Welcome to the latest newsletter from the Education Must Continue Initiative, for the month of April 2016. This month was quite busy for us, so without further delay, let’s get to it.

Relocated Children Home for End of Term Break 

At the end of March, close to twenty relocated schoolchildren had come home for break following Easter Holiday and end of term 3-week break. Some traveled back to their villages to be with their families. The ones who remained in central Nigerian city continued to fellowship in the EMCI community. EMCI engaged them in daily activities including chores, games and play, as well as tutoring and other responsibilities.

The new girls who had been relocated about a month earlier were tested at two different schools, placing them in classes ranging from Nursery 1 to SS2 (senior secondary). Thus, by the time the returning students were going back to school, this new set of girls were able to return with them. Several Church of the Brethren staff came around and encouraged them for their bold step in pursuing education.

Church of the Brethren staff meeting some of the newly relocated girls

While they were present, we followed up on a Skype appointment we had made with Todd Flory, a COB member and teacher at Wheatland Elementary School in Kansas. His class of about 30 pupils had done a “Skype around the world” day, and our students were the last stop. We spent close to an hour sharing our different cultures and backgrounds across laptop screens. Some of the areas we touched on were favorite subjects, the Kansas State Flag, the other countries they had Skyped, and what our different ecosystems were like. The students also asked each other what kind of jobs they’d want to hold when they became adults as well as the kinds of foods each ate. Some of our more shy students eventually summed up the courage to show their faces to the camera, smiling when they discovered some shared familiarities. At the end  of the session, Wheatland Elementary students sang their school anthem for us, and in return, our students sang the Nigerian national anthem for them while holding up our country flag.

April 14th Skype session with Wheatland Elementary School

Update on the Status of the EMCI Learning Centers in Adamawa and Borno States

51 SS3 (Senior Secondary 3) students are currently sitting for their SSCE and NECO (final year exams). These students are from EMCI Adamawa lesson centers and have been preparing for over a year.

Meanwhile, at EMCI Borno, a piece of land has been acquired for the future development of the EMCI Heritage Academy. More information on this will be available in future posts; watch this space. Also, a room has been refurbished  and converted into a reading studio at the center. Now, we are creating a computer lab and a library to facilitate the learning process through use of technology.

Finally, 250 desks seating 750 students had been made over the past few weeks for both of the learning centers.

51 EMCI Yola senior students who will be sitting for their final year exams this summer
51 EMCI Yola senior students who will be sitting for their final year exams this summer (1)

Schoolgirls in the United States Achieve Academic Recognition

There were several classroom victories during the month which  we’d like to share with you. Their teachers are giving us excellent reports, saying that the girls are much more relaxed now and are better able to focus on their studies. In one location, 3 girls made it to the honor roll! One girl earned highest honors, level 1! The other two attained level 2 honor roll which means B average or better on a stringent grade scale. All three of them overcame specific academic challenges and have improved their GPA since the beginning of the year.

Honor roll awards

Our three college students are making rapid progress through their programs.  One excelled on her writing evaluation, which placed her into a higher level program, another placed in the top five in her class, which exempted her from her final exam, and a third continues to hone her writing skills and to receive praise from her professor and extra bonus points (160 out of 150!) as her work is used as examples for the entire class. Her teacher placed her paper on the board and announced to the class that, “this was written by someone in the same class as you, and you should take this as a challenge!”  This young woman’s father was brutally killed by Boko Haram terrorists in her presence, and yet she is going forward with her studies with excellence and determination as an inspiring tribute to her late father.  “Death, where is thy sting?”

Sa’a reading beneath US Capitol

One of our high school students is ready to advance to college in the fall, so if you or someone you know would like to contribute to this effort, please contact us (www.emcinitiative.org).

A Week of Action for Two Year Remembrance of GGSS Chibok

April 1st was the beginning of the 2-week countdown to the 2-year remembrance of the abduction of 276 schoolgirls from their dorms at Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno state. The EMCI coordinated several events in Nigeria and the USA to mark the desperately unfortunate incident and inspire action. Below is a summary to mention a few.

  • On April 12th, EMCI student coordinator/mentor, Nubwa Gadzama and EMCI International Director, Emma Ogebe spoke on a panel at the World Bank  Spring Meetings on “Human Rights and the Status of Women and Children in Africa”. It was the Naija Worldwide Charities (NWC) and Global Women- Africa Network (GLOW) policy forum/global town hall meeting session entitled, “The Human Rights Status of Women and Girls in Africa and the Rest of the World,” and held on April 12, 2016, at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)- World Bank Headquarters Spring Meetings, Washington DC.
Our Our student advisor, Nubwa and Deanna, our International Education Advisor
EMCI Student Coordinator and International Director speaking on a panel at the World Bank Spring Meetings on human rights and the status of women and children in Africa.
  • Remembrance events were held in Washington D.C. USA, Abuja, Jos, and Borno
    • On April 13th, Boko Haram released a video showing 15 of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls. When we showed our Chibok girls the video they recognized some of their classmates.

Press Statement of Escaped Chibok Schoolgirl “Saa”

 

Emma & Sa'a at capitol hill
(Click here for Statement by EMCI International Director, Emmanuel Ogebe, on the new Chibok girls’ video by Boko Haram.)
  • During that week of April 10th, the annual EYN Conference was being held at the Annex Church Headquarters. Close to a dozen Church of the Brethren (COB) members had flown in from the United States representing church leaders. To keep the memory of the missing girls alive, EMCI printed a list of each of their names on large banners. These names and banners were carried through the aisles of the church and afterwards, hung on the walls of the auditorium of the church for the week-long duration of the conference. This act even caught the eye of a national newspaper, and the front cover picture of the medium on April 14th was a senior COB representative holding up the banner.
  • Cover of the Nation Newspaper on April 14th 2016
    • Our journey getting some of the escaped Chibok girls to school in the United States were inspired by visits of Congressman Chris Smith and Congresswoman Frederica Wilson amongst others . On the 14th of April, our US team accompanied the girls schooling there to a remembrance event at capitol hill attended by Rep. Chris Smith and Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep Sheila Jackson Lee and many others. There Sa’a spoke on behalf of her sisters, promising that they will never forget their missing friends and classmates. (At the end of this post is a list of all our media mentions for the month, including the events held at Capitol Hill on that remembrance)
  • Rep Wilson, Emma, Sa’a and some of the girls
    Rep Smith, Deanna, and some of the girls
    Nubwa and some of the girls at Capitol Hill on April 14th
    Photo of Congressional event‏
    Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee at George Ranch High School TX for a Celebrity Basketball Tournament in honor of the Chibok girls organized by the African Student Association.
    • Meanwhile, across the pond, one of our co-founders, Rebecca Gadzama was being awarded by her Alma Mater, the University of Maiduguri for her efforts in furthering education at the institutions. The Graduate Records and Alumni Relations office in the University and the National Alumni Association was conferring the first “Annual Achievement Award” as part of the 22nd Combined Convocation and 40th Anniversary Celebrations. She was nominated to receive an award in recognition of the humanitarian services as an alumnus of the university.
Rebecca Gadzama receiving her award at the University of Maiduguri
    • On April 21st, members of US Congress invited the Chibok girls schooling in the US to participate in a Candlelight Vigil with a delegation of members of the U.S. Congress at the State Department. Initially, we were afraid it was going to be a time used to give speeches from members of Congress, but it turned out to be a powerful, spiritual and uplifting event. The Congress people brought their own podium and set it up outside of the State Department. Congresswoman Wilson (D-FL) organized the event, working with the US Capitol Police, who provided escorts for our girls and the Congressional Delegation.  Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), and Reps. Curt Clawson (R-Fla.), Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.), and the United Nations Representative Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) also participated in the vigil and shared inspiring statements.  The stirring event was filmed by ABC’s Nightline, which aired a documentary covering the event as well as other prominent networks (MSNBC and Voice of America).  The participants commended our girls for continuing their studies in the US and urged people all over the world to unite in standing up for the missing Chibok girls and to work together to eradicate Boko Haram. Several members of Congress spoke, and a Democrat asked a republican to pray. Illustrating the extent of broad bi-partisan support of the effort, the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus said that “it is not a Democrat issue or a Republican issue or a Woman’s issue or a Man’s issue, or a Black Caucus issue, but it is a HUMANITARIAN ISSUE.”  Others re-iterated that the full Congress supports this. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee read from Psalm 91 on safety.   UN Representative Barbara Lee spoke eloquently, showing great support.  When it was our turn, Sa’a briefly explained who she was.   One of the non Chibok escapees, but a victim of terror from Northeastern Nigeria, known only as “Zee,” led Congress and the girls in prayer quite powerfully in the name of Jesus.  You could have heard a pin dropped as she prayed.  Then she and Sa’a read all 219 names while we all prayed for them.    NO ONE BUDGED.  Some of our girls and other distinguished participants were crying.  They were God’s tears.  Members of Congress’ hearts were touched.  As a fitting end to an inspiring tribute, Congressman Curt Clawson (R-FL) who had been asked by Congresswoman Wilson to pray for the effort, led the delegation in singing Amazing Grace to conclude the inspiring event.
Congressman Leads In Prayer during Candle Light Vigil at the U.S. State Department
Saa Reading Names during Candlelight vigil at the U.S. State Department

Update on Activities in Nigeria when International Director was Around

Towards the end of the month, Emmanuel Ogebe flew to Nigeria to attend some of the goings-ons there. While here, he traveled to Adamawa and Borno states to visit the learning centers there, fellowshipping with families, staff, and victims of the insurgency. With him, he brought donations of computers from PLEA a US charity, to help further the learning process there.

International Director, EMCI, Emmanuel Ogebe presents computers donated by PLEA a US charity to the EMCI directors in Nigeria – the Gadzamas – for our IDP kids’ schools.

Our objective remains networking with various organizations to see if we can collaborate on projects to bring back quality education and provide a more prospective looking future for people coming from that region. Please contact us if you want to help.

US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Powers meets ‪‎bringbackourgirls‬ campaigners in Abuja, Emma (our international director) holds up a plaque with a captive girls’ name.
US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Powers meets ‪‎bringbackourgirls‬ campaigners in Abuja and holds up a plaque with a captive girls’ name.
US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Powers meets ‪‎bringbackourgirls‬ campaigners in Abuja and holds up a plaque with a captive girls’ name. Pin given to her by BBOG

Somewhere on Broadway…

In the US, Danai Gurira, a famolus actress and playwright, who wrote Eclipsed, a Broadway play about enslaved women in Liberia’s 12-year civil war, was inspired by EMCI’s work upon meeting our International Director and human rights lawyer, Emmanuel Ogebe. As a result, all Broadway performances of Eclipsed will conclude with a moment in which the names of some of the missing girls are read and remembered as the performance is dedicated to them. Bono, the famous lead singer of U-2, appeared on stage with the Eclipsed staff as part of the launch of the remembrances. Eclipsed is the first production in Broadway history to feature an all-female director, cast, and playwright.

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As Promised, here is a List of our Media Mentions

Escaped ‘Chibok Girl’ Pleads for More US Help

https://www.yahoo.com/news/escaped-chibok-girl-pleads-more-190634398.html

From Boko Haram Captive To U.S. College Student http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/04/18/474702756/from-boko-haram-captive-to-u-s-college-student

Saa’ at NPR

Nigeria’s missing girls: A glimpse of the stolen

http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/13/africa/chibok-girls-new-proof-of-life-video/index.html

#BringBackOurGirls Survivor Urges World Not To Give Up On Her Friends

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/chibok-girls-boko-haram-anniversary_us_570fee7ae4b0561c9f043c12?

Link for first Congressional event on 2 year remembrance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF5Von98DhM

Congressman Smith Tweets in remembrance of missing Chibok girls

https://twitter.com/RepChrisSmith/status/720730201685143556?cn=ZmxleGlibGVfcmVjcw%3D%3D&refsrc=email

As Video of Chibok Girls Gives New Hope, We Speak to Survivors of Boko Haram

https://news.vice.com/article/as-video-of-chibok-girls-gives-new-hope-we-speak-to-survivors-of-boko-haram

‘Eclipsed’ shows on Broadway to be dedicated to victims

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/aad9284b2349429281e0788270c9e00a/eclipsed-shows-broadway-be-dedicated-victims

Nigeria’s Stolen Girls: Inside Boko Haram Territory Where Children Are Forced to Become Suicide Bombers: Reporter’s Notebook

http://abcnews.go.com/International/nigerias-stolen-girls-inside-boko-haram-territory-children/story?id=38720139

How School Girl Escaped Being Kidnapped By Boko Haram: Part 2

http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/school-girl-escaped-kidnapped-boko-haram-part-38726622

UM-Flint Grad Will Work to Save, Ensure Education for Victims of Boko Haram

https://news.umflint.edu/2016/04/28/um-flint-grad-will-remain-in-family-business-of-saving-ensuring-education-for-victims-of-boko-haram/

Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson hosts candlelight vigil at the U.S. State Department to honor the Chibok Girls

http://thewestsidegazette.com/congresswoman-frederica-s-wilson-hosts-candlelight-vigil-at-the-u-s-state-department-to-honor-the-chibok-girls/

Chibok Survivor Now Thriving in the U.S.

http://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2016/05/09/chibok-survivor-in-us-sesay-intv.cnn

Saa's testimonial story

Names of Still Missing Girls

  1. Lydia Habila
  2. Rejoice Musa
  3. Mary Madu
  4. Hauwa Abuge
  5. Laraba Haruna
  6. Esther Ayuba
  7. Maryamu Yakubu
  8. Lydia Imar
  9. Comfort Amos
  10. Naomi Bitrus
  11. Ruth Wavi
  12. Mary Dauda
  13. Ladi Joel
  14. Saraya Samuel
  15. Salome Pogu
  16. 16 Sarah Abdu
  17. Rose David
  18. Esther John
  19. Deborah Aji
  20. Hauwa Dauda
  21. Naomi Luka
  22. Glory Dame
  23. Saraya Dame
  24. Hauwa Bula
  25. Laraba Paul
  26. Lugwa Samuel
  27. Lugwa Sanda
  28. Comfort Habila
  29. Guba Bura
  30. Lydia Emma
  31. Glory Yaga
  32. Iyhi Abdu
  33. Kauna Lalai
  34. Tabitha Silas
  35. Maryamu Lawan
  36. Yagana Jashua
  37. Rejoice Santi
  38. Godiya Bitrus
  39. Awa Bitrus
  40. Rahila Yohanna
  41. Maryamu Wuri
  42. Hauwa Musa
  43. Kabu Musa
  44. Rhoda John
  45. Salome Titus
  46. Maryamu Abbas
  47. Safiya Abdu
  48. Hauwa Adamu
  49. Rakiya Gali
  50. Ruth Ngitatar
  51. Halima Gambo
  52. Rebecca Ibrahim
  53. Rakiya Kwamte
  54. Rebecca Kabu
  55. Christiana Yusuf
  56. Jumai Muteh
  57. Amina Bulama
  58. Anna Ezekiel
  59. Saraya Stover
  60. Patience Jacob
  61. Awa Abughe
  62. Lugwa Abughe
  63. Mairama Yahaya
  64. Martha James
  65. Awa Amos
  66. Asabe Manu
  67. Esther Usman
  68. Mary Dame
  69. Ruth Kolo
  70. Hauwa Tela
  71. Suzanna Yakubu
  72. Amina Pogu
  73. Yaayi Abana
  74. Saraya Paul
  75. Fatima Tapje
  76. Saratu Micah
  77. Elizabeth Joseph M
  78. Amina John
  79. Victoria William
  80. Rakiya Shitima
  81. Deborah Peter
  82. Jummai Pogu
  83. Mary Sule
  84. Jummai Aboku
  85. Rifkatu Amos
  86. Rebecca Mallum
  87. Ladi Wadai
  88. Kwamta Simon
  89. Esther Markus
  90. Blessing Abana
  91. Nguba Bura
  92. Karu Stephen
  93. Rahila Bitrus
  94. Tapchi Hyelanpa
  95. Deborah Solomon
  96. Rahila Ibrahim
  97. Monica Enoch
  98. Dorcas Yakubu
  99. Rifkatu Galang
  100. Asabe Goni
  101. Naomi Yaga
  102. Rhoda Peter
  103. Naomi Adamu
  104. Hauwa Ishaya
  105. Sarah Samuel
  106. Saratu Ayuba
  107. Hauwa Josepj
  108. Jinkai Yama
  109. Maryamu Abubakar
  110. Deborah Abbas
  111. Saraya Musa
  112. Helen Ibrahim
  113. Hannatu Ibrahim
  114. Maimuna Usman
  115. Maryamu Musa
  116. Hannatu Nuhu
  117. Asabe Ali
  118. Yana Yaske
  119. Rebecca Joseph
  120. Naomi Philmon
  121. Rifkatu Yakubi
  122. Liatu Habila
  123. Deborah Jafaru
  124. Abigail Kugama
  125. Hauwa wahi
  126. Racheal Kheke
  127. Amina Ali
  128. Ayuba Grema
  129. Saratu Dauda
  130. Yaana Pogu
  131. Grace Paul
  132. Margaret Shitima
  133. Pindar Nuhu
  134. Hannatu Abubakar
  135. Hannatu Ishaku
  136. Hauwa Kwagwi
  137. Parmata Musa
  138. Hauwa Nkeke
  139. Mary Dama
  140. Mary Amos
  141. Aishatu Musa
  142. Mary Yakubu
  143. Sarah ndaske
  144. Hadiza Yakubu
  145. Asabe Lawan
  146. Tabitha Pogu
  147. Ruth Bitrus
  148. Lydia Simon
  149. Mwa Daniel
  150. Lugwa Mutah
  151. Yana Bukar
  152. Saraya Yaga
  153. Christiana Ali
  154. Kauna Luka
  155. Hauwa Peter
  156. Ladi Paul
  157. Deborah Yerima
  158. Juliana Yakubu
  159. 159 Ruth Lawan
  160. Laraba John
  161. Mary Daniel
  162. Hauwa Musa
  163. Naomi Zakariya
  164. Saratu Markus
  165. Zabu Yaska
  166. Saraya Samuel Yaga
  167. Hajara Isa
  168. Kwadzugu Haman
  169. Hauwa Markus
  170. Hauwa Maina
  171. Comfort Bulus
  172. Aisha Lawan
  173. Martha Musa
  174. Fibi Haruna
  175. Falta Lawan
  176. Maryamu Bulama
  177. Aishatu Lawan
  178. Glory Ali
  179. Esther Jashua
  180. Ruth Ishaku
  181. FILO Dauda
  182. Rifkatu Splomon
  183. Margaret Watsai
  184. Mary Ali
  185. Ruth Amos
  186. Bilkisu Abdulkahi
  187. Martha James
  188. Rebecca Ibrahim
  189. Maryamu Lawan
  190. Deborah Andrawus
  191. Agnes Ngapani
  192. Mary G .Dauda
  193. Saratu Iliya
  194. Saratu Tapji
  195. Mairama Bashir
  196. Victoria Dauda
  197. Halima Ali
  198. Maryamu Ali
  199. Ladi Audu
  200. Zainabu Yaga
  201. Awa Ali
  202. Talatu Adamu
  203. Ladi Paul
  204. Ladi Dauda
  205. Hannatu Dauda
  206. Lydia Yaga
  207. Mary Paul
  208. Naomi Yohanna
  209. Jessica Habila
  210. Jumai Paul
  211. Saratu yahi
  212. Helen Musa
  213. Jumai Yaga
  214. Grace Ahmadu
  215. Hamsatu Umoru
  216. Lydia Nuhu
  217. Mary Yakubu
  218. Saratu Thlawur
  219. Aishatu Modu

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