Last year, Voice of the Martyrs, together with our supporters, helped support a children’s crisis care centre in Nigeria.
The centre provides loving, Christ centred residential care, good quality education and medical treatment for child victims of persecution.
The children are victims of persecution from Boko Haram Islamist terrorism, Fulani Muslim militant attacks on farming villages or other tragedies coming from poverty and displacement, resulting from these conflicts. Their extended families – struggling to recover from the devastation where businesses, homes, schools and clinics have been destroyed – are unable to provide adequate food, medical care or education for the children, who have all spent significant time out of education because of conflict.
There are currently 155 children residing at the centre, with 83 children being enabled to return to extended family in the last five years.
Most have lost their father, some also their mother and siblings. At least one boy was rescued from being a child soldier from Boko Haram. A number of the girls are rescued from being child brides, some as young as nine. One was rescued from serial sexual abuse and kidnap. Some are Christian converts from Islamic background. The youngest is three years, the eldest are 19 or 20 and are still in school because they started school late or missed years of education because of terrorism. All children are in full time education.
Six young people, additional to the 155, who have been through the crisis care program and have completed secondary school are working as trainees, mentoring and caring for the younger children under the leadership team. Those with outstanding character, work ethic and academic results are offered traineeships, while awaiting university admission. They continue to work at the centre during university breaks.
All of the older teens at the crisis centre also learn a vocational skill three afternoons per week. Twenty one have chronic hepatitis B and one HIV and are undergoing treatment. Their trauma is addressed through ongoing counselling, culturally relevant mentoring, and a program aimed at creating new, positive memories.
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