Educating Victims of Insurgency

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Adibe Emenyonu writes on the recent donation of educational materials to victims of the insurgency in Edo State by the Nigeria Foundation for the Support of Victims of Terrorism

The Nigeria Foundation for the Support of Victims of Terrorism in continuation of the implementation of its mandate to administer support to victims of insurgency and create the enabling environment for accelerated recovery and sustainable peace and development through its Victims Support Fund (VSF), launched its educational support programme targeting school children affected by insurgency in Edo State.

The educational support programme is geared towards securing the future of children, and specifically designed for school children whose education have suffered setbacks. A total of over 50, 000 children and teachers will benefit from the project which will be executed in two phases. The project will provide school children with text books, exercise books, writing materials, school bags and sandals among other things. The first phase of the project is estimated to reach 21,291 children. This includes 10,000 in Borno, 7,000 in Adamawa, 3,000 in Yobe and 1,300 in Edo.

The outcome of this programme, according to General Theophilus Danjuma “will significantly enhance the state of education in the affected states. The underdeveloped state of education in the North-east is identified as a major cause of the insurgency. By supporting educational development in the region, the project will not only assist with the rehabilitation of affected children, but will also go a long way to address one of the root causes of insurgency.”

According to Danjuma, “our vision is to see a Nigeria in which the dignity and wellbeing of victims of terrorism and insurgency are restored and their future assured; While our mission is to be the foremost knowledge-driven and programme-based organisation mobilising sustainable funding and building partnerships for the support and transformation of victims of terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria”.

Danjuma, who is the chairman of Victims Support Fund, who was represented by Prof. Sunday Ochoche, Executive Director, Victims Support Fund during the presentation of educational materials, said the objectives behind the donation was to restore the livelihood and set the background for reconciliation and peace and to build the capacity of grassroots groups for community development, restore confidence in education as a tool for grassroots empowerment, address the underlying poverty in the communities as well as address the issues of orphaned and separated children.

Ochoche who pointed out that thousands of children and teachers are the target of beneficiaries, also noted that some of the women will be given empowerment tools in this first phase of the project which would be executed in two phases

For instance, he announced that 11 women who accompanied the children to the camp situated at the International Christian Centre Mission, Uhogua, Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State will get sewing machines, while volunteer teachers and worker are to be given N7,000 and N5,000 each monthly as a way of encouraging them.

“The project will provide school children with text books, exercise books, writing materials, school bags and sandals among other things. The first phase of the project will benefit 21,291 children. This include 10,000 in Borno, 7,000 in Adamawa, 3,000 in Yobe and 1,300 in Edo”, he emphasised.

“In Edo we worked closely with management of this IDP camp and so we have school materials like books (note books and text books), school bags, writing materials, uniforms, sandals and shoes for the 1,300 already identified children of school age to help them in critical areas such as psychological support. And in doing so, we felt that education must be addressed.

“The outcome of this programme will significantly enhance the state of education in the affected states. The underdeveloped state of education in the North-east is identified as a major cause of the insurgency. By supporting educational development in the region, the project will not only assist with the rehabilitation of affected children, but will also go a long way to addressing one of the root causes of insurgency.”

The VSF executive director who called on the political class at all levels to join other well meaning Nigerians to provide for these IDPs, urged the victims not to harbour any grievances, but to leave vengeance to God. He stressed that “there is a Father up there who will take care of you even if you may not have a physical father who will hug you”.

Also in his remarks, Elder Sunday Oibe, who represented the national body of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), commended Edo State government for the wonderful work it is doing in the camp to make it habitable, noting that the job is so enormous that working in partnership with stakeholders, the camp management and Edo State government have proved worthy.

Highlights of the event was the presentation of the education materials to the beneficiaries by the wife of Edo State Governor, Mrs. Lara Adams Oshiomhole, who thanked the donors for the gesture.

On behalf of the beneficiaries, Aisha Bature, a six-year pupil thanked VSF for their kindness, prayed that God should continue to bless them so that they can continue to do the work of charity.