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“When my father was killed, we had to leave our town. I thought it was the end for me”

But that was not the end for Grace.

The girl now lives in Maiduguri camp in Borno state with her other family members. Her mother takes care of her, her eight brothers and sisters as well as 4 of her cousins. Grace, on the other hand, is concerned about one thing above all else: to continue her studies.

The education of all children, without distinction

When her family fled the city of Baga, Grace thought she was losing her chances of continuing her education at the same time as she lost her home. However, Grace and other displaced children in the camp attend secondary school thanks to a plan promoted by UNICEF and which allows displaced and host community children to follow their studies: some have classes in the morning, d others in the afternoon, so that classes are not overcrowded.

This mechanism, incidentally very simple, guarantees the best possible use of the school’s existing infrastructure. A total of 873 children attend the establishment.

“Some children have seen how their parents were killed and it’s hard for them to concentrate because of those very painful memories.”

Hundreds of schools rendered unusable

Many children in Nigeria have seen their chances of access to education undermined by conflict, displacement, death and separation from families. Because of the conflicts, more than 800 schools in the north of the country have been damaged, burned or looted. Some remain occupied by displaced families who have sought refuge in classrooms. In Borno state, most school-aged children have missed a full year of school.

Furthermore, even before the violence escalated, Nigeria had 10.5 million out-of-school children, a sad global record. Girls are the first to be affected: in 2013, 40% of girls in Nigeria did not go to school.

From school supplies to psychosocial support

UNICEF supports the education of children affected by the conflict in the north of the country by setting up certain programs such as teacher training, psychosocial support services in the classrooms or the preparation of children for emergency situations. UNICEF is also providing school materials and school bags, as well as large tents that serve as temporary learning spaces.
But many children still do not have the chance to learn. Since the day Boko Haram attacked her village and killed her father, Grace has not seen her two older sisters who also fled.

“I just wish they were here with me to continue their education”