As part of efforts to reduce the high number of out-of-school children in the country, a non-profit organisation on the aiges of Arm the Child Foundation, said it has so far trained over 300 internally displaced and vulnerable children in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Out of the 300 children trained in the last four years, 20 of them are now on scholarship in various secondary schools being sponsored by the NGO.
Speaking at the Kuchigoro IDP camp Saturday in Abuja, during the presentation of certificate and scholarship award to some of the outstanding children who participated at the 2022 summer lesson, President and founder of Arm the Child Foundation, Shuwargwe Damak, called on the federal government to be serious on the disturbing high number of out-of-school children in Nigeria.
According to Damak, the trend over three years now has been a lot of schools shutting down, especially in the North because of threat of violence attacks and this is very worrisome.
“These children are the future of Nigeria and without access to quality education how do they develop themselves, be useful to themselves and contribute meaningful to the society? The number of out-of-school children in Nigeria is worrisome. In fact, there is a research recently which says that Nigeria has highest number of out-of-school-children, and that’s a problem.”
Speaking on the efforts by her organisation, Damak said Arm the Child Foundation is committed to delivering quality education to Internally Displaced and venerable children.
“This project is called Summer School for Internally displaced children. We have been on it for four years. We started in 2017 and since then, except 2020 because of COVID-19, we have had summer school every other year.
“We have worked with over 300 of them. Last year alone we were able to sponsor 16 of them to Secondary School and out of these number four were under-age girls they were going to be married off by their parents because they couldn’t afford to provide for their needs but because we have been able to sponsor them to school and helped out with their welfare those children are still here today. This year, about four other children will join those on scholarship to make it 20 children for now.
“The central objective is to give the children at the IDP access to quality education, though it is an informal setting but we teach them basic subjects. In the past we have thought them Mathematics, English Language, Civic Education, History, Skill Acquisition and Basic Science. But as time went by, we noticed that the world is moving forward, the world is going digital, so this year we decided to include Digital learning and these children have actually testified that the best part of this year’s summer learning for them was the digital learning experience.
“The first time we had this summer school for IDP in Abuja, we had it in Gwarinpa IDP where we had 54 boys (all IDPs) but they later dispersed to different part of Nigeria. Some moved to neighbouring countries. So, we later found Kuchigoro camp and we have been working with this IDP camp since 2018. We have decided to stay here because we want to monitor their progress.”
While thanking her friends, family members and private individuals who have been of help to her organisation, Damak said she has not gotten any assistance from government since she embarked on the project.