May & June 2016 Newsletter

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Hello, and welcome to our latest blog update for the months of May and June, 2016. We were so busy with lots of travel and schools letting out, we decided  to combine our  activities for the previous two months into one newsletter. A couple new additions; as usual, the end of this post will include media mentions for the period (we encourage you to check these out), and we are also creating a “sponsorship” section with details on how you can help contribute to the life of one of the many IDP children from Northeastern Nigeria.

Without further ado, let’s get to it…

May 2016

EMCI Nigeria

Update on the Placement/Relocation Program 

Our founders, Paul and Rebecca traveled to the U.S. in May. Meanwhile, back in Nigeria, our many relocated students continued to strive ahead.

The schoolchildren placed in the various schools in Nigeria came home on separate occasions for mid-term breaks. Their orientation to the big city and new environment continues to progress, even though we had some individual challenges with some of them. Several traveled back to their villages in the dangerous northeast to see their families during this time.

Wana, is pictured here during EMCI visitation to her school’s Children’s Day Celebration on May 27, 2016

May 27th is celebrated as Children’s Day in Nigeria. On that weekend, EMCI staff visited with one of the school’s, and had a picnic with the 9 children we have there.

EMCI visitation to locally relocated kids in school
EMCI celebrates Children’s Day with some of ours

Update on Northeast Lesson Centers

Over in the Northeast, our lesson centers continue to make progress, as beacons of light in their communities. Currently, over 2,000 pupils attend the Borno center, while the Adamawa center has close to 1,000. An interview with the principal at the Adamawa site yielded the following:

“Much improvement has been witnessed in the overall climate of the center after the International Rescue Organization created skills acquisition workshops. These include manual activities like tailoring, shoe-making, and other gainful trade skills.”

“Caritas Internationalis, a Catholic relief and development organization also came and made two toilet facilities as well as dug a bore-hole for the center.” (Some of you readers may not understand the significance of such acts, but putting it in the context of the displaced victims, it means much better hygiene, better disease control and more access to water, to mention a few.)

“Then, we also entered in a joint project with American University of Nigeria to create TELA, technology assisted learning for all. Basically, children from ages 16 and upward are taken and given books and radios to facilitate learning. Last month (May), the top 24 students were taken to AUN to be further assessed. At the end of June, they will return to further reassess them as part of a research project being conducted by the University.”

SPONSOR A SERVICE 

When his disciples were sending the children away, our Lord stopped them, saying “let the little children come to me.” Here is your opportunity to contribute to the life of one of these little victims of insurgency in Northeastern Nigeria.

– Sponsor/support a child through school for a year (₦242,000 or $858)
– 3 meals a day for a week costs (₦3,500 or $13)
– Support toward EMCI school mini clinics (₦10,000 or $35 per month)
– A pair of uniforms for the relocated children (₦4,000 or $15)
–  Bus to convey 15 – 20 relocated children during holidays (₦100,000 or $350); one way trip

 

Nursery class in EMCI Adamawa

EMCI USA

Update on US School Girls

EMCI’s Girls Study Abroad Project successfully concluded its second academic year this year.

Sa’a and her college mates

Update on the Three College Girls

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 as her work is used as a model for the entire class.

Emma Ogebe our international director and the girls traveled to New York City to experience Broadway. Later that weekend, at a dinner, Emma remarked to the hosts how the previous day was the anniversary of the day terrorists murdered Zee’s pastor dad in front of her. Looking quizzically: “is today the 14th?” she asked.

This young lady did not even remember that this was the day three years ago when her life changed. Not only was her father killed but she sustained a head wound from bullet shrapnel. Yet just that week, she got her college results. She has a 3.75 GPA after just a few months in college in the US!
Three college girls with the wonderful Broadway cast of Eclipsed in New York

STATEMENT BY SAA – ESCAPED CHIBOK SCHOOLGIRL – ON THE ESCAPE OF ONE OF HER ABDUCTED CLASSMATES

On Tuesday, May 17th, the first abducted Chibok schoolgirl to escape from Boko Haram in over two years ago was found. Amina Alli was discovered in the Sambisa Forest area of Borno state by civilian vigilantes.

Sa’a, an escaped Chibok schoolgirl who is currently attending college in the US courtesy of the Education Must Continue Initiative Charity, released the following statement by text from class on May 18th:

“That’s wonderful, and since she’s found it will be nice if she can tell where the other girls are and all the information about what’s going on with them there!”

US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Powers meets ‪‎#bringbackourgirls‬ campaigners in Abuja and holds up a plaque with a captive girls’ name. (From April 2016)
US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Powers meets ‪‎#bringbackourgirls‬ campaigners in Abuja, Emma (our internatinal director) holds up a plaque with a captive girls’ name; he picked a winning placard (from April 2016)

This picture was taken in Abuja in April a week after the 2nd anniversary of the Chibok abductions.
People gathered at the BBOG meeting point by the Abuja fountain awaiting US ambassador to the UN Samantha Powers.
Everyone each picked a placard bearing the name of one of the 219 abducted girls.
Our International Director Emmanuel Ogebe picked a placard for missing girl #127. Guess what her name was?
Look at the picture and see for yourself.

Founders Visit to High Schools.

EMCI’s founders, Paul and Becky Gadzama together with our International Director and Educational Advisor, visited the high schools where the escaped Chibok girls are attending to interact and appreciate them. The schools were satisfied with the progress of most of the girls. They had dinner with some of the host parents and the EMCI team.

EMCI gave the 9 high schoolers who were not graduating after their two year sojourn in the US options for continuing education and renewing their student visas to choose from.  Ultimately, two of the 9 girls decided to remain under the academic program of EMCI in our approved academic centers of excellence while 7 dropped out and reportedly went to a certification summer course (GED) initiated by the Nigerian embassy. Five of the seven had just completed middle school.

June 2016

EMCI Nigeria 

Summer Preparations for Placement/Relocation Program

As the summer holidays approach (yes, Nigerian school children go on break about a month and a half after their American counterparts), we are preparing to host some of the younger ones in central Nigeria, while the others will be going back to their hometowns.

The end of the month brought about another visitation day at the school where we have 9 children. EMCI’s resources guy, Heriju, took some provisions, including bags of corn, gari, shoes, notebooks, torch lights, and other day-to-day supplies  to the school and had a small picnic with them. The children were quite excited; some were already calculating what they could save and what they could consume.

The principal at the school visited at the end of May is pictured here with some of the relocated schoolchildren
The three girls placed at one of the schools in central Nigeria came for mid-term break and were ready to go back to school. (June 5th)
The three musketeers pictured here with Heriju, our resources guy. (June 5th)

Nigeria Evangelical Missions Association Program

The Nigeria Evangelical Missions Association (NEMA) was established in 1982 as a networking association and fellowship forum for the church and missions movement in Nigeria. From June 8th to 10th, NEMA hosted a “Tribes Around Lake Chad Consultation” program, themed Re-Engaging the North-East. Many of the participants were key stakeholders in the rebuilding of the Northeast program; various NGOs, churches, individuals, and EMCI were among the invited guests. Paul Gadzama attended the program, contributing the educational dimension of the project of re-engaging the many displaced victims of the insurgency in the Northeast.

Tribes Around Lake Chad Consultation 2016
The four panel members during a Panel Discussion at the NEMA program Friday, June 10th
NEMA (Nigeria Evangelical Missions Associaton) Tribes Around Lake Chad Re-Engaging the North East Nigeria Program held from June 8th to June 10th
Paul, pictured here at the NEMA program held on June 8th

Founders Journey to Northeast with Church of the Brethren

Paul (our Nigerian National Director) traveled to the Northeast with a couple Church of the Brethren staff  for another visit to the lesson centers there. They were taken around each center meeting with staff and other stakeholders in the area to support them and to gain insights into some of their individual and collective needs. Relief items and some medical kits were donated to the health services staff there as well.

In conjunction with the CoB, we are seeking support for our displaced kids. EMCI’s desire is to have some lunch feeding for the 2000 kids at the EMCI school in Borno and perhaps elsewhere.

A class being administered by one of our many superhuman teachers
Computer class time!
English class time!
Another nursery class at EMCI Adamawa
Islamic Religious Knowledge class for Muslims in EMCI Adamawa Lesson Center

Efforts to Set Up Humanitarian Assistance 

EMCI is currently working to step up our humanitarian assistance to vulnerable victims. A relief food shipment from the US arrived late June. Let us know if you want to help us get urgent food supplies to children in need. You can save lives, literally! The media reports that 21 people are dying daily in one of the refugee camps we are going to.

A father of one ofthe EMCI placement program’s children shows off a Goalkeeper jersey representing the EMCI lesson center football (soccer) team
An outfield players jersey for the same team
An outfield platyers jersey for the second team
Medical equipment which were donated to parents and staff of EMCI lesson center, Lassa from June work trip
More medical equipment
Some parents are pictured here with EMCI National Director, Paul and COB Staff during their work trip to the Northeast in June
COB staff has a way with the kids

EMCI USA

US High School Students Earn Honors!

Certificate of Honor

One of our escaped Chibok Schoolgirls received recognition from her school for her outstanding work in the classroom. She received the music instruction award as well as the most improved ESL reading award. In addition, she also received recognition from EMCI regarding the successful completion of the academic year as well as the launch of her  Summer English Language Institute Program (College Preparation).

LAURELS FOR ESCAPED CHIBOK GIRL

One of the escaped Chibok schoolgirls won eight awards at her school’s prize giving day taking home the highest single number of awards in the entire school!

 The awards include:

* Top student-ESL Science
• Most dedicated – ESL Reading
• Outstanding Achievement in Math
• Excellence in Economics
• Excellence in ESL Bible
• The Sir Isaac Newton Award in Physics
• Most hardworking in ESL History
• Academic Excellence – ESL Grammar

Her awards made her the highest awards recipient at her school which has citizens of over 30 countries in attendance. Her school had also revived a US president’s award for academic excellence – the first such institution to garner this prestigious award in the history of the US.

EMC’s award-winning student received a recognition from the congressperson for her outstanding performance within the constituency.

Awardee Student

 

After Speaking for Freedom, Chibok Mom (Mary) Stands Under the U.S. Capitol Dome

The school is generously providing authentic full scholarships for the next full academic year as the students complete their college preparation and advance to higher education.  They have not and do not intend to do any fundraising in order to meet their scholarship promises to us. We are especially grateful for the team of qualified educators and administrators who do continue to invest into the lives of the EMCI students with such excellence, grace, and professionalism. We are also grateful for the professionals, including physicians, dentists and eye doctors on our team who are providing full health care to our students.

Our host families are extremely compassionate, thoughtful, reputable, and highly educated moms, dads and grandparents, who are uniquely qualified and  consider it a special calling to love and care for our students during their time in the US.   One evening of particular blessing included the Mother of one of their still missing Chibok classmates encouraging and praying over our students.

We want to say a  special “thank you” to the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative for the efforts they made to making this journey a success.

This is how the US Heritage Foundation publicly introduced Becky during an event on Nigerian issues (after referring to the challenges in Nigeria):

“. . . one of the most encouraging things I’ve heard of is the work you are doing there with the Education Must Continue Initiative.”

 

 

Beckie in DC

Chibok mum nurses someone else’s child recently
Co-founder Pictured here at COB annual Conference
College girls on vocational skills training

US Senate Chaplain

The climax of the trip to the US was the opportunity to speak and pray with the United States Senate Chaplain.   The US Senate Chaplain officially opens each session of the US Senate in prayer.  This is an honored tradition started by one of the US founders, Benjamin Franklin.  Chaplain Black is the first African American to hold this position in the Nation’s history.  He shared with us that he had spoken an official prayer in the US Senate for the Chibok girls at the time of their abduction.  After asking us about Nigeria, he shared his inspiring life story of overcoming many life obstacles.  His mother only had a fourth grade education, but she supported his education, and he now holds  three Masters Degrees and two Doctorates and was an Admiral in the United States Navy.

He prayed for us and especially for Becky, and Mary and her missing daughter right there under the US Capitol Dome and under the auspices of the highest US appointed ecclesiastical position.  He shared a powerful verse from an inspiring hymn, This is My Father’s World:   “This is my Father’s world: Oh, let me ne’er forget; That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”

After a beautiful time of prayer, he said that the Senate was pleased to add Nigeria to its prayer list.  After he prayed for us, we felt freedom in our hearts.  Indeed, it was an experience that we will forever appreciate.

Prayed over by the US Senate Chaplain-Highest Ecclesiastical Position in the United States

Members of Congress Attend Broadway Showing of Eclipsed

On June 19th, members of the Congressional Black Caucus attended the Eclipsed show on Broadway in honor of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls. This was the final showing weekend of this Tony award winning play by Actress Danai Gurira in New York.
A special guest also dedicated the night’s performance to some of the 218 still missing.

Members of the Congress wear read on Wednesdays in honor of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls (File photo)

The Pages Turn; We Send a Blessing

We pray a blessing for those Nigerian students who sadly had to leave our program due to EMCI standards and those US students who were abruptly lured away from our program by government agents and their proxies.

June is two years since we met the first girls and for an all volunteer organization that is not even 2 years old, we are exceptionally grateful at how far we have come. We are grateful for all who have helped in the way and whom we have helped on their way.

The best is yet to come…

Have a great summer every one!

Media Mentions and Important Links May/June 2016

Chibok survivor now thriving in the U.S. (CNN; May 09, 2016)

The First Chibok Girl Kidnapped by Boko Haram Has Been ‘Found’ Alive (Vice News; May 18, 2016)

Chibok girl snatched by Boko Haram found, activists say (WUSA(; May 19, 2016)

In the Land of Nigeria’s Kidnapped Girls: A journey to the village of Chibok, where insurgents hide in the bush as families mourn the loss of their daughters. (The Atlantic; May 21, 2014)

The Church Without Walls Interview with Nigerian Friends (The Church Without Walls; June 04, 2016)

Mother of Kidnapped Chibok Schoolgirl Pleads ‘We Need Your Prayers That Our Girls Will Be Found’ (The Christian Post; June 10, 2016)

WN Interview Emmanuel Ogebe (World News; Nov 06, 2014)

Congressional Black Caucus Concern for Chibok Girls

The 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative’s #StandWithNigeria Medium

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