As part of efforts to reduce the high number of out-of-school children in the country, a non-profit organization on the platform of the Arm The Child Foundation, said it has so far trained more of 300 displaced and vulnerable children in the federal government. Capital Territory (FCT).
Of the 300 children trained over the past four years, 20 of them are now on scholarships in various high schools sponsored by the NGO.
Speaking at the Kuchigoro Displaced Persons Camp in Abuja on Saturday, during the presentation of certificates and scholarships to some of the outstanding children who participated in the 2022 Summer Lesson, the President and Founder of the Arm the Child Foundation, Shuwargwe Damak, called on the Federal Government to be concerned about the alarmingly high number of out-of-school children in Nigeria.
According to Damak, the trend for three years now has been for many schools to close, especially in the north due to the threat of violent attacks, describing the situation as very worrying.
“These children are the future of Nigeria and without access to quality education, how do they thrive, make themselves useful and contribute meaningfully to society? The number of out-of-school children in Nigeria is alarming. In fact, a recent study indicates that Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children, and that is a problem,” Damak said.
Speaking about his organization’s efforts to reverse the trend, Damak said the Arm the Child Foundation is committed to providing quality education to internally displaced and vulnerable children.
“This project is called Summer School for Internally Displaced Children. We’ve been on it for four years. We started in 2017 and since then, except in 2020 due to COVID-19, we have had summer courses every two years.
“We have worked with over 300 of them. Last year alone, we were able to sponsor 16 of them in secondary school and among these four were underage girls, they were going to be married off by their parents because they could not afford to support their needs, but because we were able to sponsor them in school and help with their well-being, these children are still here today. This year, about four more children will join the scholarship recipients to make 20 so far.
“The central objective is to give the children of the IDP access to quality education, even if it is an informal setting but we teach them the basic subjects. In the past, we’ve thought of them in math, English language, civics, history, skills building and basic science. But over time we noticed that the world is moving on, the world is going digital, so this year we decided to include digital learning and these kids actually testified that the best part of learning about summer of this year was the digital learning experience.
“The first time we had this Summer School for IDPs in Abuja, we had it in Gwarinpa IDP where we had 54 boys (all IDPs) but then they dispersed to different parts of Nigeria. Some have moved to neighboring countries. So we later found Kuchigoro camp and we have been working with this IDP camp since 2018. We decided to stay here because we want to follow their progress,” Damak added.
While thanking her friends, family members and individuals who have helped her organization, Damak said that she has yet to receive any form of help from the government since she embarked on the project.