Education Must Continue – Highlights of 2016 and Prayers for 2017

Paul & Becky Gadzama Directors of EMCI

Paul & Becky Gadzama (on the2  sides)
Directors of EMCI

By Becky Gadzama

Education Must Continue Initiative (EMCI) is so thankful to God for another year.  Our prayer is that , every one of you would  enjoy a very exciting  walk with the Lord through out this new year. We also pray that He will provide ALL your  needs both spiritual and material according  to His  riches in  glory by Christ  Jesus.

2016 was very encouraging for EMCI. Highlights include:

– Graduation of 59 IDP Yola senior class. 85% of whom passed their SSCE exams( SAT) equivalence.

– Efforts to start EMCI school in a maiduguri suburb for Kanuri girls,

– Greater opportunities for the relocation of children from from north east to safe schools in central Nigeria and other southern parts of Nigeria,

Children in Yola classrooms

Children in Yola classrooms

– Gradual stabilization of the Yola and Lassa IDP schools for better future directions and planning.

– One of the chibok girls that have lived with us has started her degree (Accounting ) program in AUN Yola. The other is preparing for her SSCE. Their determinations are very encouraging.

-Amazing donation of nutritious food to EMCI kid by ALL THINGS POSSIBLE. It arrived very timely , at the peak of the food crisis in the Borno camps. Over 14000 kids benefited from it in Maiduguri and 6000 children, orphaned by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen violence.

Lassa School

Lassa School

Praise and prayer requests for 2017:

– Thanking God His  provisions in the past years. – that God will continue to bless CoB both financially and materially – peace in Nigeria – freedom and human right in Nigeria – stable school year – EMCI senior students to do well in their SSCE exams this year also. – successful teacher capacity programs – safety as we travel to and fro – God’s blessings so that EMCI can do much more this year. – Good health – more opportunities to impact the lives of children educationally. – Favor for the take off of the Kanuri girls school in Maiduguri. -That the remaining 194 Chibok  girls still in captivity will be home very soon

 

Accomplishments in 2016

2016 Nigeria Crisis Summary  (Total $1,525,082)

Thank you to everyone who supported the Nigeria Crisis work in 2016. It is amazing to see what we have accomplished together. May God continue to work among us.

317 818 853 903 1220 eyn-food-distribution2

Home Repair and Rebuilding                                                                                             30 new units with kitchens and toilets                                                                                       Provided Water sources and 2 solar powered pumps                                                          260 homes re-roofed (4 zones)

Peace Building and Trauma Recovery                                                                            18 basic workshops                                                                                                                 3 advanced workshops                                                                                                             3 Training of Trainer                                                                                                                 Leaders sent to Rwanda for Alternatives to Violence Program                                               2 Healing and Rebuilding our Community Workshops (Maiduguri and Damaturu)                 Training for 14 women’s leaders by Children’s Disaster Service USA                                     10 Children’s Trauma  Training workshops (155 trained)

Agriculture & Community Development                                                                             6 leaders attended ECHO conference                                                                                     5 leaders attended a soybean innovation lab                                                                           Goat trial project started for 10 workers                                                                     Vaccinations for 10,000 chickens                                                                                            Seeds and fertilizer to 8500 families

Livelihoods                                                                                                                            2 women’s projects for 200 widows & orphans                                                                        Empowered 587 families to established their own businesses                                               3 Skills Acquisition Centers provided training and businesses for 152 widows &                   orphans

Education                                                                                                                           Kulp Bible College renovations/repairs                                                             Comprehensive Secondary School wall built for security                                               School fees paid for 420 students                                                                                       120 orphans housed, fed and school provided                                                                       3 Learning centers providing schooling for 2,180 students

Food, Medical & Home Supplies                                                                                      35 distributions to 12,500 families                                                                                  Medical assistance at 19 locations serving 5000                                                           Medical refresher course held for 16 dispensary workers

EYN Strengthening                                                                                                         Unity house in Jos furnished                                                                                           Kwarhi staff housing and offices repaired                                                                      Conference center repaired                                                                                              Conference assistance for Majalisa, Peace conference for pastors, Minister’s conference, Devotional materials printed                                                                                             Hosted 42 US visitors during the year                                                                                     Joint Workcamp – EYN and 9 US volunteers began building a church for IDP’s

EYN’s Continuing Challenge with Education

Julie Heisey in Nigeria

Julie Heisey in Nigeria

As part of the Take 10/Tell 10 Group from the Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren visiting Nigeria in January 2016, Julie Heisey was graciously given the opportunity to interview Safina Doma, EYN Director of Education, and listen to
her story.

Education in government schools, particularly in Nigeria’s northeastern states, is of poor quality due to corruption, crumbling infrastructure and lack of teacher training. As a result, parents banding together had been sending their children to
schools operated by EYN which at least was able to provide Christian education
not allowed in public schools. Dr. Safiya has become Director of Education at a
time when the Boko-Haram insurgency, opposed to both Christian and Muslim
education, is placing great pressure on 45 EYN schools. Dr. Safiya expressed
“deep pain in my heart and tears” when she visits schools like the one at the
Stephanos Camp for Internally Displaced Persons where 100 children have only
one trained volunteer teacher.

Dr. Safiya

Dr. Safiya

Dr. Safiya has been visiting as many schools as she can, gathering materials that were left behind after Boko-Haram attacks and encouraging school staff who
have not received salaries in the last year. This has taken great courage. In June 2015, Dr. Safiya started out toward Yola with a car and driver visiting EYN
headquarters and many schools. In Mubi the head of the school had lost her husband and Safiya prayed with her in her home. At the EYN Comprehensive (secondary) School she asked students to write an essay on how Boko-Haram has affected their education. In an attempt to reach Chibok her car was stopped from proceeding, but that didn’t stop Safiya. Telling her driver to stay with the car for his own safety, Safiya said, “I bought a box of water and started walking, wondering what I would say if I encountered any terrorists.” Upon arriving at Chibok she found that the school staff had not seen anyone from EYN for one year. They were greatly encouraged by her presence.

As past coordinator of Women Theologians, Dr. Sfiya helped to organize the
workshop on trauma healing and vocational training in Yola in November 2015.
The women were encouraged to forgive their attackers, to reach out to others, and share what they have. Safina has also provided support and encouragement to a colleague who lost her husband and three children in an attack. Her own wedding, planned for last fall, was relocated because of an attack which “scattered all my plans”, but it went on in a safer location. She has received support and encouragement from her new husband, a
retired pastor and former collegue at ECWA seminary.

In the midst of all the suffering and hardship, Safina sees God’s spirit working.
She quoted the words to a song about “blessings of God coming down like
raindrops to those who love God.” Among those blessings she includes:

• opportunities to reflect on the meaning of life, (one’s place in the world, why
God has allowed this suffering and the challenge of unanswered prayers.)
• God has helped many people to escape.
• God has provided “what we need. If God doesn’t provide it, we don’t need
it.”
• Although attacked, Kulp Bible College and EYN headquarters were not
burned and some things were able to be salvaged.
• Unexpected help came from the Church of the Brethren in America inspired
by God. Although the millions of nira that have been contributed by
Americans are important, they are not as important as the people who have
come. EYN will be stronger because of the “fellowship of the feet.”

The next challenges Dr. Safiya sees are praying for the insurgents and telling the
world about how the girl-child, made in the image of God, is affected by rape and
becoming sex slaves. She asked what will become of the resulting babies these
girls will have? How can they, with already lowered status, help their children?
How can we prevent this from becoming an ongoing multi-generational tragedy?
Dr. Safiya has written an article about the The Girl Child: Bobo-Haram’s New
Weapon of War. She has plans to publish a book on the subject in two years.
We have listened to the deep caring, dedication, faith and courage in Safiya’s
story. As she has received inspiration from the presence of the Take 10/Tell 10
Group in Nigeria, her story and the stories of many Nigerian Brethren like her are
bringing inspiration and renewed faith to the church in America.

Completing a Degree During Troubled Times

by Janet Crago

Zakariya Musa

Zakariya Musa

In 2014, Zakariya Musa was pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communication at the University of Maiduguri.  It was supposed to be a 6-year journey.  He works for EYN Headquarters as the Editor of Sabon Haske, which is an EYN publication reporting on major events in EYN.  The University of Maiduguri offered a program where he could travel to Maiduguri to attend classes on Friday evening and all day Saturday.  He would travel earlier in the day on Friday to get to Maiduguri for the Friday classes, then travel on Sunday to get back to EYN Headquarters at Kwarhi.  He was given study assignments to work on during the two weeks he would spend at EYN Headquarters before again returning to Maiduguri for the Fri – Sat classes, then back to Kwarhi again.  Zakariya would work at EYN Headquarters during the day, and study at night.  He has 8 children, so to get a quiet place to study, he would frequently go to the Library or the classrooms at Kulp Bible College (KBC) at night to study.  It was a very busy life.  But, this was a schedule he expected — before the Boko Haram insurgency geared up.

 

Maiduguri is a very large city north of EYN Headquarters.  If you travel on the road that goes north and is the shortest route, it takes about 4 hours.  Soon, however, it became unsafe to travel the shortest road up to Maiduguri.  Even today, because of the insurgency, it is not safe to pass on the road through Bama / Gwoza.  Instead, travelers leaving Kwarhi must first travel to Yola which is about 4 hours SOUTH of EYN Headquarters.  Then you have to travel from Yola to Numan, Adamawa state /to Gombe, Gombe state/ to Damaturu, Yobe State/to Maiduguri, Borno State, a further trip of approximately 10 hours through 3 state capitals.  So, total trip time now become 14 hours one way.  Getting his degree became very difficult as Zakariya continued to pursue it.  Not only did the travel time increase so much that it became almost impossible, but the trip is not even very safe in some places like Damaturu.  Another problem was that the city of Maiduguri imposed a curfew during this time to help ensure the safety of the city.  Zakariya’s probem was that they kept changing the time.  Sometimes it was 5 pm to 6 am, sometimes it was 6 pm to 7 am, and sometimes it was 7 pm to 7 am.  Zakariya always called ahead to determine the time so he didn’t have to stay in the bush.  He had to stay over night in Yola several times.   But, Zakariya still persevered toward his degree.

Then, to make matters worse, Boko Haram began an all-out effort to carve out a radical Islamic state in a section of northeast Nigeria.  They weren’t having success in overcoming Maiduguri itself so their eyes moved toward its surroundings with a bomb blast here and there within the city despite the heavy military checkpoints at all road linkages. They began a march south, overrunning Bama, Gwoza, Madagali and Michika in mid September, moving into KBC on Oct 29 and overrunning Mubi on Oct 30.  People were anxious all over the area, but didn’t want to abandon their homes and crops.  They didn’t want to run away until they had no other choice.

But, Oct 29th was that day for Zakariya’s family, who lived in Kwarhi near the EYN Headquarters.  His older children abandoned their house early in the morning of Oct 29th by starting their trek, on foot, toward Gashala, then Hong, then Gombi, before getting transport to Yola.  Unfortunately, Zakariya’s wife didn’t leave soon enough.  She got trapped in her home in Kwarhi.  Thankfully, she was able to sneak out later in the day.  She went through the bush to Gashala, then Hong.  She trekked about 15 miles before spending the night in Gashala.  She and her group (which included a pregnant woman who was in her eighth month) were finally able to get transport from Hong to Yola.  That same day, Zakariya had made the long journey back from Maiduguri and arrived in Yola the evening of Oct 29th.  His wife arrived on the 30th.

The pastor and parishioners of the Vinikilang EYN church, just outside Yola, were allowing displaced people to gather in a large open area near their church.  Zakariya estimates that there were about 400 adults staying in this open area.  Sometimes they were able to get one plate of food for the younger children.  He had very little money with him, but was able to purchase a little food for the rest of them.  They stayed there for 6 days.  Ultimately, the displaced people there dispersed to many areas, wherever they could get a safe place to stay until they could return home.  After discussing their options, Zakariya’s family decided to move to a refugee camp in Bukuru (near Jos) run by the Stephanos Foundation.  There they stayed in a shelter which only had half walls.  They decided to hang cloth around the open top half so they could have a little privacy.

Then, Zakariya got word from his university supervisors that he needed to finish his final project as his allotted time had almost expired.  He didn’t know how he was going to finish his project while living in a camp.  There was no private area to work in.  His advisor agreed to communicate with him about his project through email.  He had a laptop, but how was he going to power it?  Well, Zakariya is resourceful, and again he pulled off the almost impossible.  He finished his project on time and was able to complete his Bachelor of Science Degree.  But, the story doesn’t end there —

Zakariya with his wife and Carl & Roxane Hill

Zakariya with his wife and Carl & Roxane Hill

While working on his final project he got word from Gavva that his parents had been killedby the insurgents.  Gavva is one of the villages in northeast Nigeria very close to the Cameroon border where people are still afraid to go back because they are likely to be killed.  Then, he then got word that his mother had been seen alive.  But — he has now not heard from his mother for over 6 months, and he’s doubtful that this is really true. His father and mother lived in Gavva their whole lives, and Zakariya grew up there.  The death of his parents has been a terrible blow for him.

Zakariya thanks God for getting him through the difficult challenges of getting his degree.  He is also grateful to Stephanos Foundation for helping to provide for his family during a time when he’s also mourned for his parents and the other colleagues he has lost to the Boko Haram conflict.

When he reflects on what has happened to him he says he appreciates people, particularly in Jos, for their concern for EYN.  His prayer is for peace to come back to Nigeria, especially in the northeast where the insurgency has taken over.  He prays for God to give EYN a forgiving heart because we have all sinned before God.  He prays for the new government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and for the betterment of all citizens.

 

Reports from Nigeria: A phone report from Cliff Kindy

Phone Report from Cliff Kindy to Carl and Roxane Hill on Feb. 3, 2015. Cliff is currently a Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteer reporting from Nigeria.

  • Cliff is helping organize a
    Cliff at Garku

    Cliff Kindy (right) volunteering in Nigeria. Photo courtesy of EYN Nigeria.

    Peace and Democracy Conference in Yola: promoting civic responsibility as the national elections draw near (scheduled for 14 February)

  • He will accompany delegates from the Swiss Embassy as they visit IDP (internally displaced persons) camps in Yola and survey the conditions in Mubi
  • Boko Haram insurgents continue their campaign of fear with bomb blasts in Gombe where President Goodluck Jonathan was campaigning earlier this week
  • Cliff has been instrumental in encouraging and participating in various Trauma Healing workshops – Mennonite Central Committee is sponsoring one for EYN leadership this week, helping these leaders to lead despite the trauma they may be experiencing
  • Cliff received reports that the Nigerian military attacked Boko Haram headquarters in the Sambisa Forest. With the successful defense of the city of Maiduguri, it appears that Boko Haram is being limited to hit-and-run tactics
  • With Cliff’s encouragement, EYN’s director of education has established a teacher-training program and set up locations to begin teaching at the five IDP camps in Jos
  • Cliff is asking for prayers for his mother who was recently hospitalized
  • Continued prayer for Cliff’s safety and health as he continues his important work in Nigeria
  • Lastly, as most of us are digging out of the recent snow storm, Cliff is enduring 100-degree heat with failing electricity and fighting mosquitoes in humid east Nigeria – way to go, Cliff!