Benson Idahosa University (BIU) feels a strong sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates.
One of which is the concern for fall-outs of the current insurgence with internally displaced persons.
Many little girls (ages 5-13) were abducted and forcefully married to their captors. Some watched their family members massacred before their eyes; others saw their homes and villages burned down.
Over 1.6million people have been displaced by Boko Haram insurgency in the northern part of the country.
There are currently 1,900 orphaned children in the camp we are supporting. Most are Hausa speaking and over 90% of them came from the Northern part of Nigeria. The children in the camp range from under 1 year of age to 25 years old. The majority of the children are between the ages of 5 and 13.
Benson Idahosa University (BIU) in partnership with Church of God Mission International (CGMi) Soul-Food Outreach accepted the challenge to support the Government’s initiative to provide these children with food donations, health care and other welfare services.
When we started work with the camp it had a population of 700. Its number of children increases weekly, but not necessarily its capacity. The camp comfortably houses 300 children, so, you can imagine the situation at hand.
These children have horrific life stories that range from witnessing the murders of their parents, friends and siblings; rape, starvation, forced slavery and so much more.
What have we done so far?
- We are meeting the immediate welfare needs. (We have bought the children mats to sleep on, bowls and spoons to eat with, slipper for their bare feet, food, clothing, toiletries and basic essential needs.) we continue to send supplies to the children on a weekly basis and have helped raise awareness within our local church community to raise support as well. We have also supported the camp’s agricultural endeavours by planting fruit bearing trees, pineapples, yams and other crops to sustain them.
- Supported their spiritual needs. Although the camp is being run by a Missionary, we saw a large deficit in the children’s spiritual life. We sent in a Hausa speaking Missionary team from Niger and many of our Hausa speaking Bible School students to counsel, teach and pray for the children. We also regularly visit the camp with church groups.
- Support their academic needs. We provided each child a backpack with 12 notebooks, textbooks, pencils, crayons and other essentials items to assist their education. we are also assessing the quality of education the missionaries are giving the children.
- Assistance with their medical needs. We partnered with our hospital Faith Mediplex and the CDMA (Christian Medical and Dental Association) to asses each child in the camp and open medical cards for them. We have been able to immunise most all of the children and treat their various ailments including giving free hospital admission to many. We have also gone in when called upon to treat outbreaks of illnesses that they’ve recently had such as respiratory infections, skin infections and chicken pox.
- As you witnessed on Sunday, we are also attempting to expose the children to life outside the refugee camp. The 300 children who came to church on Sunday were leaving the camp many of them for the first time in over a year. We believe this will also help them integrate better into society as they
The work ahead of us is immense, but, we thank God for His grace to have been able to start. Moving forward, we are working diligently to do the following:
- Continue our commitment to the Welfare, Spiritual, Academic and Medical needs of the children.
- Support the infrastructures on ground that needs completion and improvement. For example, they are building a school for the children who require roofing, furniture, plastering, etc. They need an additional borehole and more improved accommodation and toilet facilities.
- Move 40 of the most vulnerable children (ages 10 months to 3 years) to our Orphanage home, “My Sister’s Place” being managed by the women’s arm of CGM called CWFI (Christian Women’s Fellowship International).
- Build our own refugee camp at our CGM Campsite called “Balm of Gilead City.” (I believe you visited there with Rev. Kyula last November). First draft of architectural drawings for this project is being reviewed. Once this project is completed, we will be able to move a majority of the children to a safer and more hygienic environment where they can be catered for grow spiritually and get adequate education.
- Open a 24 Hour Medical Clinic in the Camp