Exiled with a Second Chance | Persecution

Bandaging and building the persecuted Church since 1995

Exiled with a Second Chance

After relentless violence, child refugees find new hope thanks to ICC.

Story and Photos by Kate Piselli

09/21/2022 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – The breadbasket of Nigeria is starving. Christians in Benue State have suffered gruesome attacks by the Fulani militants, a radical Muslim militia group, forcing approximately 1.5 million people from their ancestral lands into internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in the last five years.

Having previously been farmers, years in the camps with no land or opportunity have forced them into lives of obscurity. School-aged children wander the streets, begging for food. It’s common for women to go into town to trade their bodies for a meal to bring home.

Crime runs rampant, especially in the Makurdi North-Bank IDP Camp. The camp has a population of about 10,500—around 2,000 of those are children.

“Currently, the rate of education is very low, considering that when the children wake up in the morning, they are looking for work, food to eat, water to drink, to find firewood… all sorts of things,” said Amos, an ICC volunteer who regularly visits the IDP camp.

In February 2022, ICC began providing eight volunteers with a small stipend to travel to the camp three times a week. We provided basic school supplies such as whiteboards, markers, books, and lesson materials, as well as funds to supplement classes with food and drink.

“Children who have never been to school have been given the chance to be educated, which has given them a sense of belonging,” said Amos.

ICC also set up a lunch program to help feed the children. “Hungry children whose parents can’t afford proper meals can now eat good food every week,” said Amos.

To steward the Christian population that has lost their home churches, ICC conducts a Bible club every week. The goal is to educate the children and remind them of Christ’s love for them despite their dire circumstances.

“Older women who were not opportune to be educated have been given a second chance as four have become dedicated pupils,” said Amos.

ICC will continue to work with volunteers and Christians on the ground to implement education programs to equip these children to have brighter futures.

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