by Alex Anhalt
Mission Network News
Islamic extremist rebel group Boko Haram stepped up attacks on civilians after Muhammadu Buhari took office as president of Nigeria on May 29, casting a shadow over the government’s recovery of territory earlier this year and adding to the more than 1.5 million internally displaced people (IDPs). About half of Nigeria’s displaced people are children, and an indigenous ministry is focusing on their needs.
“School children have been out of school now for many months or even years,” said the director of the ministry based in the capital, Abuja. “Can we allow these children in the IDP camps to be without schools, when we Christians have the opportunity to show the love of Christ and empower them by giving them schooling?”
The government has invited the ministry to help the displaced. The ministry, unnamed for security reasons, plans to send up to 200 children to rural schools in safe areas of Adamawa and Niger states. A sense of urgency permeated the request of the ministry director as he said just $5,000 would be enough to get started with the task of enabling children to go to school.
“If we have resources, we could pick up 200 at once; but where will 200 children stay after schools close?” the director asked. “We are trusting God for their uniforms, bedding, bathing materials, feeding, and other items as the next week approaches. We ask for your prayers for these children.”
The ministry ultimately will need $7,900 (1.6 million Naira) to resettle the children and $14,900 (3 million Naira) to build and equip lodging for them, said the ministry director, adding that total costs for providing education to the children will come to more than $25,000.
“We want to start developing a hostel for them,” he said. “This is more or less a kind of orphanage, as we will care for them as a complete child until they have grown to be on their own.”
Frustrated that more churches in Nigeria are not doing more to help the displaced, the director said the time to rebuild what has been destroyed is now. Families have lost relatives and all they ever owned, widows abound in the thousands, and daily Christian workers see a seemingly unending number of orphans...