According to UNICEF, Boko Haram violence has displaced over 1.4 million children. These children are currently settled in camps across Nigeria, with little or no access to education.
In 2018, RABNI (Read A Book Nigeria Initiative) hosted seven selected students from across different social, economic an academic background for the pilot of its TEDEdClubs. The goal was to reach students who would not be considered top-of-the-class, with opportunities they would normally be passed off on. RABNI believes that when it comes to education, every child deserves every opportunity. At the culminating event, they received a recommendation to take this to internally displaced children.
The RABNI team comprised eight volunteers led by Nnenna Uma, Founder of RABNI. The first visit to the Durunmi IDP Camp proved that there existed no form of education, except religious trainings for the children settled there, classrooms donated by individuals and organizations have been made into storerooms. Over 60 children in that camp are out of school, and those in school can barely speak coherently, much more read or write. Timidity was the only expressions we got from most of them. Given the special interest in at-risk children such as these, the team spoke with the camp chairman, also a displaced person, and secured his permission and support to bring the TEDEdClubs to the children. Due to limited resources only seventeen (17) children could be sponsored.
RABNI’s TEDEdClub for IDPs was a three (3) month and two weeks educational initiative using the TED-Ed Curriculum for public speaking. The program began March 2nd, 2019 and ended June 8th, 2019. Total club meeting days was 14 Saturdays. Each meeting lasted 2 hours, holding between 3:00pm – 5:00pm. The age of the children ranged from 9 – 15 years.
The goals were to:
- Help the selected students regain learning confidence
- Guide the students to find their own voice, and confidence to express it
- Give the students an experience that will leave a positive memory of education
- Inspire the students to rise above what surrounds them
- Elevate the students to the global stage of TEDEd talks and leave them with a portfolio that will foster their future educational endeavors.
- Raise awareness of the plights of the children
- Gain scholarships for the children out of school
The Curriculum included:
- Introduction to Ideas worth spreading
- Differentiating between beneficial and non-beneficial ideas
- Feedback, how to receive and give constructive feedback
- Problems and solution identification in their immediate surrounding
- How to explore solutions
- Talk drafting, and delivery techniques
- Presentation of students’ ideas worth spreading
To meet each learning outcome, the team employed different learning methods given the unique needs of the children, including role plays, and dramatization.
To keep each child motivated and consistent to the program, the team:
- Provided food and drinks for every club meeting
- Solicited for clothing, book donations from the public and distributed amongst them
- Organized a small party, halfway through the program, to keep the students refreshed, which also featured administration of Vitamin A by a health practitioner to the children
This program was supported by Teach for Change Nigeria (TFCN), Korean Cultural Centre, Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA), Transcend Leadership Foundation, Kilimanjaro Fast Food and YALI Abuja.
The TEDEd program held at the Korean Cultural Centre Nigeria, an eighteen (18) seater bus was offered by Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA) to convey the children to and from the venue while Kilimanjaro Fast Food supported with seventeen lunch packs.
The event began with opening remarks by Nnenna Uma, who said ‘everyone has a voice, regardless of their age, and even while they are still children, they deserve this opportunity, and given their peculiar circumstances they deserve to be celebrated for this feat and given every educational opportunity available to their peers. What they lack are good food, decent shelter and clothes, but they have a fully functional mind and heart that is capable of great exploits. Help us spread the word of their existence, tell someone, tweet about them and amplify their voices.’
Mrs Onyinye Ough of Step Up Nigeria gave the keynote address and spoke on the theme ‘amplifying the voices of the children in the Durunmi Internally Displaced Persons Camp’
Jennifer Emelife, Founder, Teach for Change Nigeria, and who volunteered throughout the duration of the program shared her experience and the importance of reaching these special children with educational opportunities, and how to do it efficiently. Emelife develops curricula for teaching English and Literature and contributed immensely to the success of RABNI’s TEDEd Club for IDPs.
Ogunsanya Bamidele was introduced to the camp through volunteering for an organization that served the camp at one time. The organization left, but he stayed back and has remained an uncle to the children, always looking for opportunities for them. He shared his incredible journey with the children the last five years. Bamidele proposed the idea for bringing TEDEd Clubs to the IDPs first to RABNI, and was instrumental in giving the organisation access to the children on a weekly basis
TEDEd Talks from the Students
- Usman talks about the need for better health care for the IDPs, the pharmacy set up for them is mostly locked, you cannot access it in emergencies
- Deborah heard the story of Malala and has since remained inspired to defend her friends and girls like her from early marriage and lack of education, she talks about how she plans to do this by staging protests.
- Aliyu wants to fulfil his dream of being a doctor and bring proper health care to the camps children. He talks about his dream.
- Rhoda talks about wanting to go back to her village, where she can farm for food and income, where she and her family will be allowed to build a firmer shelter and be free from leaking roofs. But she cannot because she fears Boko Haram might go back there
- Abubakar inspired the entire team at the beginning of this program when he told us he wanted to be a billionaire. He shares why in this talk
- Suleiman talks about the poor housing structures and the pains of living in it
- Zachariah laments the plight of people like him at the grassroots that canvas votes for politicians, only to be forgotten by them when they gain power. The communities remain under-developed, and the masses keep struggling to survive.
All students gained a one-year educational scholarship from Transcend Leadership Foundation
- Much is left to be done if significant progress will be made by those set of children educationally, and that is why we are working to launch RABNI Read 1.0; by January 2020; the goal is to teach the children to read, write, use the internet for research, and more.
- Every child does deserve every opportunity, and their hearts are all the same regardless of how they look on the outside.
- We need to do more to divert their attention from the hate inside them stemming from the brutality a good number of them experienced in the hands of Boko Haram, to pursuing positive developments for their communities.
- A child who is hungry can’t help stealing, and neither would they be interested in learning. Food is a key tool for education in these communities.
- It is imperative that we push for effective implementation of the Universal Basic Education Act in these communities. The distance they have to walk to school, the pathways they take and the hidden fees in most public schools should be looked into by the relevant bodies.