*Distributes educational materials to over 100 IDP children
By: AUSTINE EMMANUEL, Kaduna
Eko Smile Empowerment Initiative has launched campaign, “Go back to school” for children of internally displaced persons, (IDPs) in Kaduna State.
Over 100 children of IDPs in Maraban Rido, located in Chikun Local Government Area at the weekend, received educational materials from the NGO with excitement, while praising the foundation for giving them hope in the face of their numerous challenges.
The IDPs coordinator for Maraban Rido, Kudansa Chikun LG, Mr. Sule Adam, said they are very happy, considering the passion of the NGO towards the welfare of the IDPs, adding that Eko smile has been able to assist them in so many ways.
Sule noted that many of the children do not have access to education, since they were displaced from their ancestral homes due to the level of insecurity witnessed in some parts of the state.
Meanwhile, the foundation was able to organize a way that the children can start lessons and they are optimistic that the programme will groom the children into responsible adults.
Sule reiterated that a lot of the children came from the village and so could not be able to communicate effectively and there is nobody to help them but with this initiative, very soon they will start speaking like those from private school.
He said, “We are appealing to those individuals who believe in this kind of ministry to come and assist us so that this children will not become a challenge to the host community tomorrow.
“We also have a lot of widows among them. So we are soliciting that donors and other relevant agencies come to their aid and empower them in one skill or the other so they can become self reliance and take care of these children, else they become vulnerable to the community and they begin to cause problem for the host community and by extension the entire state at large.”
In her remarks, the convener, Eko Smile Empowerment Initiative, Blessing Sunday said the programme is to enable the students return to school, adding that she was informed that most of the children are out of school as they cannot afford even little as books and writing materials.
Blessing disclosed that, “Last week, we were able to partner with our sister agency, Justice, Development and Peace Caritas (JDPC) who donated food stuff, relief materials and other vital needs and they are going to train 40 of them on skills.
“We then received several complaints regarding how the children could not afford to go to school and so the NGO deemed it fit to come to their assistance, because we equally learned that those who are currently in school does not have books, school uniform among others.
“So as a foundation that shares the plights of these children, we decided to take the lead so that others who are passionate about the challenges of this people can also come and assist them,” she explained.
The convener while soliciting for individual and government support, also stressed that the programme is in 3-phases, majorly with the primary school session and afterwards, they will see into that of the secondary session, urging public spirited individuals to come and lend helping hands to the IDPs.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the event, the Honourable Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Rabi Salisu said they are aware of some of the challenges and the Uba Sani-led government is ready and trying everything possible to give Kaduna residents an enabling environment.
Rabi said, “we feel for them. The government is ever ready to give the people of the state an enabling environment.
“This NGO has really done well. We have always been in touch with the IDPs and that is why there is no more camp here because most of them have been taken back to their community and these ones too I still have hope that they will go back to their respective communities in a very short time.”