Welcome to the summer update from the Education Must Continue Initiative. As we begin a new academic year, we are thankful for getting to this point; and mindful of those who didn’t make it to this point. Thousands of captives have been freed by the army but hundreds of children are dying of malnutrition.
Like our previous posts, we will touch on events and activities on the Nigerian and American sides of the ocean. We will also include prayer and request items, we added a new section,”special projects report”, and finally conclude with our media mentions for the months of July and August.
EMCI Nigeria (July)
Relocated Orphan Children – Summer holidays for all the children
In mid-July, the relocated schoolchildren in Nigeria ended their first full school year. The various schools we placed them in across central and southwestern Nigeria had different closing dates, so we had to coordinate with them as well as the pupils’ parents on when to pick them up and who would be going back home to northeastern Nigeria. The year was full of ups and downs, both for us and the schoolchildren. We had several medical cases, which were duly taken care of, some students got homesick after being away from the village for the first time in their lives, while others kept on striving ahead, achieving new heights they probably never thought they would live to see. At the end of the day, the smiles and joy shone on many faces.
Here are a few academic successes: one girl, whom we’ve nicknamed “vigilante girl” (because she was rescued from an all male, adult, local vigilante group while wielding her own rifle) has graduated from Junior Secondary School (Junior High) to Senior Secondary School (High School). At the time our team met this courageous teen keeping watch over her community from terror attacks, she explained that the last time Boko Haram came, they killed her brother. This time she was standing guard so she wouldn’t be abducted!
Another girl, Jummy, has come leaps and bounds from when she first came. Initially, she was at the bottom of the class but by the year’s end, she was in the top ten and has been promoted from JSS2 (8th grade) to JSS3 (9th grade). All our younger students in elementary and pre-elementary progressed to their next level. “Grace” a 12-year old girl who tested into Nursery 2 at the start of the year, will now be starting Primary 1 (first grade), with the opportunity to be promoted to Primary 2 (second grade) before the 2nd semester of the next school year if she keeps improving at her current pace.
Six of the twenty students who ended the year with us traveled back to the village where a certain degree of peace and stability has returned. All of them are needed at home in order to support their families in various capacities.
EMCI Lesson Centers Closing for Summer Break
Similar to their relocated counterparts, the children at the EMCI lesson centers in Adamawa and Borno states vacated for the summer in late July. Our founders, Paul and Becky traveled there for the closing ceremony and prize & award giving days. They took with them some relief items, along with sports equipment and recreational aids for extracurricular activities. We are proud of the fantastic Junior WAEC results from EMCI JSS 3 class. The top students in each class were awarded a prize, and their achievement celebrated. Perhaps the most encouraging outcome was the successful graduation of 59 senior students, the inaugural graduating class! Congratulations to these ambitious, brave souls.
Prior to the ceremony, there was a novelty athletics mini track & field meet and a friendly soccer match was played amongst the students. The looks on their faces as they were putting on their EMCI jerseys were mixed with seriousness and intent with joy and anticipation. Bare in mind, most of the kids ran and played ball barefooted! They put on a cultural dance show and at the end of it, the real winner was education; over 3,000 refugee children are being catered for at the makeshift camps and many staff and parents who are benefiting from it through the lives of their children.
- Students at home and the welfare of their families while on break
- Schoolchildren in the lesson centers; attentive minds and open hearts for learning
- For additional resources like clothing, shoes, textbooks, notebooks, writing utensils, and general educational material
- The instructors, parents, and supervisors of the lesson centers; for strength to keep pushing on
- A structure that has fallen needs to be built back up, and some of our new chairs that were in that building broke as a result. Thankfully, no one was injured or killed during the collapse of the building. We’d like for them to be repaired before school resumes
- For the government and aid agencies to help build a much brighter future for the young ones
EMCI USA (JULY)
Special Academic Recognition for One Escaped Chibok Schoolgirl
In July, one of the escaped Chibok girls in a US high school, whom we call Dee received a special letter. The letter transmitted a “particularly distinguished academic achievement” for Dee from the Member of the US Congress who represent’s the school’s district in recognition of her honor roll achievements throughout the year.
This is a wonderful achievement that D will always take with her. If you’d like to indicate your support for this young, brave soul, feel free to express it on our Facebook wall, or contact us directly through our email’s listed under the contacts section of our website. She has come a long way from a terrorist enclave in Sambisa forest to being the most award-winning student in an award-wining American school with lots of international students!
Zee’s Admission into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars
Continuing this streak of academic excellence, we are proud to say that Zee, one of our relocated girls in US College, has received the distinction of admission into the elite National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NCSC) due to her outstanding academic performance at her college.
NSCS is an honor society inviting high-achieving first- and second-year undergraduates from over 300 colleges and universities across the country, including the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Los Angeles. Aside from the prestige of membership, Zee will have access to consideration for scholarships, networking opportunities, and other internships and discounts. This could potentially be helpful because all our college students are currently paying high international student tuition rates.
This is another amazing testament of the goodness of a God who daily loads us with benefits in the midst of the storm. Just a reminder that Z is the latest addition to us and has not been in the US 12 months yet. A week before she received this award, we were talking and she told how many college students used to visit her home and her late dad would give them money for school. She said silently to herself ” I pray someone does this for me too when I go to college.”
Has God answered this or what?
She told how when she arrived in America last fall and was given a school uniform in high school, she was sad because she knew she was ready for college. She told how when we informed her in December to try out for college, many in her school discouraged her. Students said the SAT was too hard. Teachers said she should wait and get a diploma from their school… By faith we told her and the other two girls not to try out for college after the Christmas break. They made it in by divine favor in January 2016 – barely three months after she arrived the US, thanks to an unexpected ministry donor to whom we are deeply grateful!
Does God have a plan and a time or what? Zee survived a bullet to the head and now averages a 3.82 GPA!
We share this as an encouragement that we are being answers to prayers made years ago and prayers being made now at the throne by present day martyrs. And Heaven smiled…
NSCS member, Zee, at a DC Monument
On July 5th, a day after the USA’s Independence Day, EMCI college students visited the US National Guard Museum in Washington D.C. which tells the story of the US citizen soldier from the 17th century to today. They received a private briefing from a museum curator, who explained how the museum organizes and updates its artifacts in order to continue to tell the story of the US citizen soldier as effectively as possible.
God Bless AMERICA!
EMCI Nigeria (August)
Improvement in School Results for Placement Children and Summer Homeschooling
During their summer vacation, we engaged the relocated schoolchildren with summer homeschooling. Some of these kids have never had proper in-class teachers, much less homeschooling. It has had its challenges, including domestic truancy and calibrating to lessons while on holidays, especially for the younger ones. However, education MUST continue!
We engaged several youth corps service members here in Nigeria to come 5 times a week for 4 hours of lessons. The students have been divided into secondary (Junior High and High School) and primary schools (Elementary) for a 2-month program, lasting to their final days of summer holiday.
Thus far, we’ve noticed improvements across the board, though, some students are making progress faster than their peers. One indicator of their progress has been their response to home economics and sharing of responsibilities. Initially, when they first came, one girl in particular wistfully did most of the clean up in their rooms and around the premises, while the others chatted away. Now, things are different, with each of them taking on more responsibility, leveling the workload share.
Highlighting the Accomplishments of two Boys Orphaned by BH
Each one of the over twenty schoolchildren EMCI has relocated have horror stories after going through ordeals most people never live to experience. We want to share with you the story of T&P, two orphaned brothers schooling in southwestern Nigeria, where Yoruba is the main language spoken, not Hausa which is the predominant language in northern Nigeria. A few years ago, BH attacked their town, and their parents were killed in the onslaught; the boys witnessed as the terrorists executed their mother in their home.
Fast forward two and half years and now, both boys are in high school. The younger brother is on the verge of starting his final year, SS3. The older brother is starting his junior year, SS2. T is celebrating P’s outstanding performance, saying that he couldn’t be prouder of him.
The two boys spent a couple days with us before returning home to the village for the remainder of the summer.
A Chibok Mother’s Reaction to the August 14th Video Released by BH
On August 14, 2016 terror group Boko Haram released a ransom video of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls exactly 28 months after they were taken. Esther Yakubu’s daughter made a direct personal appeal to her mother for help. The day before Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria, heavily armed anti-riot police blocked Esther and her group from marching to the presidential villa to present her daughter’s message from the ransom video. This is Esther’s message to the government and to her captive daughter: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcGAF_0Sk-Xzh7h0P26K5Kw
Preparations for School Resumption in Mid-September
As we write this post, the relocated school children have been out of school now for almost a month and a half. Their various schools will have different resumption dates and requirements. We want to take this time to say a special THANK YOU to these institutions for the scholarships, discounts, and numerous efforts made for our vulnerable schoolchildren.
COB Missionaries from the US’ Visitation and Interaction
In mid-August, a team of a dozen or so missionaries and ex-patriots from Church of the Brethren Headquarters in the US embarked on a 2-week work-trip to Nigeria. While here, they traveled to the EYN/COB headquarters and Bible School which is currently being rebuilt after it was attacked by BH almost 2 years ago. EYN church has lost over 10,000 members to Boko Haram terrorism.
“It’s one thing to hear about the insurgency in another country; even to communicate with people on the ground there and to send support. It’s a whole other thing to be there and witness the chaos for ourselves.” This was a comment made by Pat K, a first-time visitor to Nigeria who ended up staying a week longer than the others.
After they returned to the “big city” from their 10-12 hour journey to the northeast, we had dinner with the COB team. We are always encouraged when we have the opportunity to fellowship with visiting brothers and sisters from abroad. They are a great encouragement in the midst of the storm.
EMCI USA (August)
Saa’s Visit with Missionary and 42-Year Veteran Educator in Nigeria, Harold
This summer, one of the Chibok girls in the US used her break from college to visit with a heroic and historic figure; Educator Harold spent 42 years in Nigeria teaching young children in school.
The retired missionary who turned 90 years old in August, told Sa’a how one of his 13 year old students told him she was going to be a medical doctor. “We all laughed”, the old man said. “A female doctor in Northern Nigeria???”.
Well, she was determined and she indeed became the First Lady Doctor in northern Nigeria!
EMC’s International Director (and son of northern Nigeria’s first female doctor – Maryamu Dija Madaki) presented Saa to Mr. Harold as a granddaughter and an example of his continuing legacy to a fourth generation.
“Thank you for your service. If you hadn’t done what you did for my mum, I wouldn’t be serving others today,” he said.
EMC joins his family in wishing him a happy and blessed 90th birthday and thank him for his service to God and humanity and the development of education in Nigeria.
Special Projects Report
EMCI focuses on educating school-age victims of terrorism. However in special circumstances we provide assistance to adult victims too.
“Timo” is a young adult victim of Boko Haram. Already crippled before his abduction during the Christmas holiday some years ago, he was in the terrorist camp before his daring escape during a thunderstorm 8 months later. Timo survived snakes and other perils in the forest before making it out alive 5 days later. He has returned to school to school to get an education and has no support from anyone. His mum is a refugee in another country. EMCI and PLEA supported him with a laptop and a friend of EMC in South Africa paid for his school fee for this semester.
Ruth is a widow whose husband was killed by the terrorists in front of her and her baby. A year later, the terrorists killed her uncle again in front of her. She has returned to school to get an education. EMC and PLEA supported her with a laptop.
David had his slit throat by Boko Haram. He survived 14 hours till he got medical attention. During that time, even as he bled profusely, he struggled to get to the homes of his neigbors to warn them to flee the terrorists. He has gone back to complete his final year of school which was interrupted by the attack. EMCI helped him with medical attention for ruptured stitches on his throat through a kind gift from a friend in Texas.
Special gifts from friends and readers like you help us to extend support to these fabulous heroes.
Summer Progress and Preparation to Return to School for Three College Girls and two High School Seniors
The girls are having a wonderful summer, some of them got to travel a bit during their time out of school.
Here is a link to a discussion held in Miami, coordinated by congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10154156105898381&id=600133380
Congresswoman Fredericka Wilson, a consistent champion for the Chibok girls in the US, once again assisted some of the girls with getting back to school supplies.
- For the church, esepecially EYN/COB to be strengthened to be better able to respond to future attacks
- Shipment of relief goods to be cleared and delivered to intended recipients in one piece and in a timely manner as many IDPs are dying daily of malnutrition
- For the abducted Chibok girls and many other women and children still in captivity, that they will be reunited with their families before the year runs out and that God will divinely arrange not only for their freedom, but for authentic comfort, consolation, counseling, restoration and healing for any who escape
- Resources for the college girls in the US. Their annual need now exceeds $120,000 and we have several more years to go.
Media Mentions for Summer 2016
Education: NGO Graduates 59 IDPs In Yola (The Leadership Newspaper) Aug 1, 2016 – http://leadership.ng/news/544127/education-ngo-graduates-59-idps-in-yola
New ‘Proof of Life’ Video Shows Dozens of Kidnapped Chibok Girls – http://www.voanews.com/a/boko-haram-some-abducted-chibok-girls-killed-in-air-strikes/3463613.html
Emma interview with CNN Aug 16th 2016 – http://www.snappytv.com/tc/2610718
Glob Trot: John Kerry heads to Nigeria Aug 22nd 2016 – https://world.wng.org/2016/08/globe_trot_john_kerry_heads_to_nigeria
Girls fight back against Boko Haram by getting an education Aug 29th 2016 – http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article98547372.html
How a Nigerian schoolgirl escaped from her Boko Haram kidnappers Aug 29th 2016 – http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article98730827.html
Mother of abducted girl pleads for help Aug 30th 2016 – http://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2016/08/30/nigeria-chibok-missing-girls-mother-demands-intv.cnn
Facing Terror and Destruction, Some Stand Up for Freedom Aug 30th 2016 – https://medium.com/@cvirgin/facing-terror-and-destruction-some-stand-up-for-freedom-19edd9ff785a#.8o5zy9o1v
Girls fight back against Boko Haram by getting an education Aug 31st 2016 – http://www.guardiannewsusa.com/girls-fight-back-boko-haram-getting-education/