Our work in Nigeria

The nine year long insurgency waged by extremist group Boko Haram across northern Nigeria and its borders has led to the killing of tens of thousands, and the displacement of millions. Street Child is currently working to help those affected by the insurgency to rebuild their lives and provide children with education.

Conflict in North East Nigeria has seen an active targeting of education, leaving millions of children deprived of the chance to go to school. Street Child believes that education in emergencies should be an essential part of the humanitarian response. That is why we are working to re-establish education for 23,000 children across the three north-eastern states in Nigeria which are worst-impacted by the ongoing conflict. Operating through an integrated child protection and education approach, we work with our local partners and the community to provide clear support networks to make children feel safe and protected, giving them the best chance to go to school and learn.

Education in Emergencies

Supported by UNICEF, Street Child and five local partners are constructing 60 Temporary Learning Centres (TLCs) across 30 communities. For some children, this is their first opportunity to enter a classroom in over three years. We are training community volunteers as classroom assistants for these centres and setting up community committees for education.

We are also providing training on Education in Emergency to 400 school teachers, so they are better equipped to deal with children who have experienced trauma. We are renovating 120 primary school classrooms that have been damaged by on-going conflict, and providing books, pens and education materials to 23,000 children, to encourage them to stay in school, even in the difficult, and sometimes insecure, circumstances they find themselves in.

Child Protection

Child protection is a serious concern in an emergency – particularly one characterised by the targeting and abduction of children. Street Child is being supported by the UN (through the Nigerian Humanitarian Fund) to build a sustainable response to these issues. We are setting up Child-Friendly Spaces where 18,000 children can play and receive counselling; staffed by community volunteers who have been trained by our counsellors and professional mental health staff. These spaces are supported by professional social workers who can help provide services to children that have more severe conditions.

We also want to help children reconnect with their families, and reintegrate into society if they have been associated with armed groups. To this end, we have a team of specialised Family Tracing and Reunification officers who travel the country, ensure child safety, and work to find parents that may have been lost in the turmoil.

Empowering Families

Families have lost so much during the conflict, some cannot even feed their children. Many children are pulled out of school to support the family income, or help feed themselves. To combat this situation, we are providing over 300 vulnerable mothers and foster parents with vocational skills training - including baking, sewing and soap making - and business grants so they can setup sustainable businesses. As part of the programme, their children also received school materials such as bags, exercise books, pencils and pens, rubbers and shoes so they could return to school and have hope for the future.

We have seen that this has had immediate results. The foster parents are able to save every week, and are committed to keeping their children in school.

Education In Emergencies
Child Protection
Empowering Families
 

Stories from Nigeria

Forged in the heat and poverty of northern Nigeria, Boko Haram has been insurgent in the country and its borders for over nine years. The insurgency has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions, creating a devastating domino effect with enormous human costs. Entire villages have fled to areas of safety, only to find themselves in the limbo of Internally Displaced People [IDP] camps. Families have been separated and children orphaned.

Through the powerful words of our beneficiaries and a series of stunning photographs captured by Street Child photographer Chris Parkes, read how your support is rebuilding livelihoods, reuniting families, helping children return to school, and in the most extreme cases, providing psychological counselling.

Maryam* already had ten children of her own. A year ago her husband travelled to another state to look for greener pastures, but never returned, meaning Maryam was left to support their large family on her own.  Maryam was selected by Street Child to receive a Family Business Grant with which she runs a small kiosk selling small household items like groundnut and washing powder.   ‘I am so happy. When you don’t have anything, somebody identifying your needs and giving you that money feels like a million! My life is now different. I have achieved so much from this grant that has been given to me. I don’t have to go out and beg. I can take care of myself and my family. We can buy all the household items I need. I am grateful! It is so different!’   Maryam’s children now also go to Street Child’s Temporary Learning Centre built in the camp, where they can learn and play with other children in a safe and secure environment.   ‘I don’t know what to say about GEPAD-C* and Street Child. Before my children didn’t even know [the letter] “A” or [the number] “1” but now with the school [the Temporary Learning Centre], they know ABC, 123, they can speak English. The impact of Street Child, I don’t know what to tell you, the impact it has had on my life, on my children’s life.’

Maryam* already had ten children of her own. A year ago her husband travelled to another state to look for greener pastures, but never returned, meaning Maryam was left to support their large family on her own.

Maryam was selected by Street Child to receive a Family Business Grant with which she runs a small kiosk selling small household items like groundnut and washing powder.

‘I am so happy. When you don’t have anything, somebody identifying your needs and giving you that money feels like a million! My life is now different. I have achieved so much from this grant that has been given to me. I don’t have to go out and beg. I can take care of myself and my family. We can buy all the household items I need. I am grateful! It is so different!’

Maryam’s children now also go to Street Child’s Temporary Learning Centre built in the camp, where they can learn and play with other children in a safe and secure environment.

‘I don’t know what to say about GEPAD-C* and Street Child. Before my children didn’t even know [the letter] “A” or [the number] “1” but now with the school [the Temporary Learning Centre], they know ABC, 123, they can speak English. The impact of Street Child, I don’t know what to tell you, the impact it has had on my life, on my children’s life.’


Falmatta* is 55. She was born in a town south of Maiduguri, where she lived until 2014.  Falmatta came to Maiduguri 4 years ago as an Internally Displaced Person. Boko Haram entered her village, using bombs to assault it, and the village people ran for their lives. No one lives there now.   ‘It was every person for themself. They all ran for their life. I took nothing with me! No money, no nothing!’   When she came to Maiduguri she stayed in an IDP tent, a simple wood and tarpaulin structure, and was then given a place to stay by the bulama [community leader] after a few years.  Her daughter and her son-in-law both died from heart attacks induced by the stress of the crisis of the insurgency and the resulting displacement, leaving her as the sole carer of their four children.  Her youngest grandchild, Kareem, is six and is currently attending Street Child’s Temporary Learning Centre and Falmatta was selected for support with a Street Child Family Business Grant, and now runs a stall selling small household items outside her home.   ‘I don’t know how to express myself...There is a great change from my life before and now! Now my grandchild is in school. They had never been to school! Before I was eating once a day, but now I can eat twice a day! Now I can buy detergent, wash my clothes, clean myself, and even have money to go and buy something in the school! Before there was none of this.’    ‘For my grandchild I hope he becomes the governor of Borno State! For myself I would like to continue to expand my business and continue my life!’

Falmatta* is 55. She was born in a town south of Maiduguri, where she lived until 2014.

Falmatta came to Maiduguri 4 years ago as an Internally Displaced Person. Boko Haram entered her village, using bombs to assault it, and the village people ran for their lives. No one lives there now.

‘It was every person for themself. They all ran for their life. I took nothing with me! No money, no nothing!’

When she came to Maiduguri she stayed in an IDP tent, a simple wood and tarpaulin structure, and was then given a place to stay by the bulama [community leader] after a few years.

Her daughter and her son-in-law both died from heart attacks induced by the stress of the crisis of the insurgency and the resulting displacement, leaving her as the sole carer of their four children.

Her youngest grandchild, Kareem, is six and is currently attending Street Child’s Temporary Learning Centre and Falmatta was selected for support with a Street Child Family Business Grant, and now runs a stall selling small household items outside her home.

‘I don’t know how to express myself...There is a great change from my life before and now! Now my grandchild is in school. They had never been to school! Before I was eating once a day, but now I can eat twice a day! Now I can buy detergent, wash my clothes, clean myself, and even have money to go and buy something in the school! Before there was none of this.’

‘For my grandchild I hope he becomes the governor of Borno State! For myself I would like to continue to expand my business and continue my life!’

Fadilah* is 45 years old and from a town about 250km from Maiduguri. She lived there her whole life until the arrival of Boko Haram militants.   ‘I was at my evening prayers, when Boko Haram entered the town and they were shooting everywhere; they did so several times.’   Fadilah, along with many others were forced to flee leaving everything behind to seek refuge in a Displaced Person Camp.   ‘We left everything behind. We walked 2 days of the journey by foot, some of it by car. We paid double or three times more than normal to use the car as there was so much demand for vehicles. We stopped and rested sometimes, especially if we thought we heard gunshots.’   After fleeing from her hometown with her husband and two children, Fadilah found out she was expecting her third child. Unfortunately, when Fadilah’s baby was born it was evident he was unwell and 18 days later he passed away.  One day when her husband went out for a walk around the outskirts of the camp he found a baby abandoned on the ground. Fadilah immediately went back with her husband to bring the baby back to their home. Fadilah named the baby boy Ahmed. Ahmed is now four months old, and looking very healthy. Their relationship is striking in the tenderness and love Fadilah showers on him, often kissing his cheek and holding him close to her.  Fadilah has been enrolled into the Street Child Family Business Scheme which means she can sell small household items within the camp to support her family; ‘ I thank God. Now I can do my business. I can afford hospital bills where I could not before. Things are easier for all of my three children. For Ahmed I hope that god blesses him with good health and a good future. ’

Fadilah* is 45 years old and from a town about 250km from Maiduguri. She lived there her whole life until the arrival of Boko Haram militants.

‘I was at my evening prayers, when Boko Haram entered the town and they were shooting everywhere; they did so several times.’

Fadilah, along with many others were forced to flee leaving everything behind to seek refuge in a Displaced Person Camp.

‘We left everything behind. We walked 2 days of the journey by foot, some of it by car. We paid double or three times more than normal to use the car as there was so much demand for vehicles. We stopped and rested sometimes, especially if we thought we heard gunshots.’

After fleeing from her hometown with her husband and two children, Fadilah found out she was expecting her third child. Unfortunately, when Fadilah’s baby was born it was evident he was unwell and 18 days later he passed away.

One day when her husband went out for a walk around the outskirts of the camp he found a baby abandoned on the ground. Fadilah immediately went back with her husband to bring the baby back to their home. Fadilah named the baby boy Ahmed. Ahmed is now four months old, and looking very healthy. Their relationship is striking in the tenderness and love Fadilah showers on him, often kissing his cheek and holding him close to her.

Fadilah has been enrolled into the Street Child Family Business Scheme which means she can sell small household items within the camp to support her family; ‘I thank God. Now I can do my business. I can afford hospital bills where I could not before. Things are easier for all of my three children. For Ahmed I hope that god blesses him with good health and a good future.


* The names and details of interviewees have been changed to protect their identity and privacy.