“It was more than disturbing” were the words that Jacob, our local programme manager in Nigeria, chose to describe the cramped conditions, mass malnutrition and lack of access to education that faced him when he first visited the two biggest Internally Displaced Person’s (IDP) camps in Biu, in north east Nigeria.

The terrorist group known as Boko Haram have plagued the North East of Nigeria for the best part of a decade. Thousands of people have fled their homes out of fear and now live in host communities where basic services are overstretched and under-resourced.

Many children struggle in the harsh reality of daily life in the IDP camp where makeshift tents on a dusty field provide the only shelter. Some children wear school backpacks from other NGOs who once visited to distribute educational supplies but existing community schools in Biu are full so their chances of getting an education are slim. Without access to a safe school, they depend on an untrained local community volunteer to teach them in the shade of a tree.

The situation in Biu is not unique. In communities across North East Nigeria, the state of education is terrible. Street Child’s current project in Nigeria will give displaced children in Biu, and beyond, the education they have been deprived of. Working with five local partners, we are building 60 temporary learning centres and renovating 120 classrooms over the next 3 months. Jacob and his team have also been working with the Nigerian government to find and train teachers - the huge displacement of people across North East Nigeria means trained teachers are few and far between. Community volunteers are also being trained to provide psychosocial support to children who have suffered trauma and witnessed things that no child ever should.

Over the next 3 months, Street Child will be plugging the education gap and giving 26,000 displaced Nigerian children a safe space to learn. As the only agency building schools in the area, our intervention can’t come soon enough.

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