Nigeria Crisis Response coordinator Roxane Hill has shared updates on the relief work ongoing in northeast Nigeria. The Nigeria Crisis Response is a joint effort of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria and the Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries of the Church of the Brethren, working with several partner organizations in Nigeria. (Learn more at www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis .)
EYN Disaster Team
The EYN Disaster Team has been active in a number of areas over the past few months. Some of these projects have been joint efforts with Mission 21, a Switzerland-based longterm mission partner of EYN and the Church of the Brethren. The following dollar amounts report funding from the Nigeria Crisis Fund.
-- Peace and trauma healing work continues with basic workshops held at the EYN headquarters in Kwarhi, and in Maiduguri. A “Training of Trainers” around the Maiduguri area was held, with $37,000 in funding.
-- Food and household supplies were distributed along with medical services at the communities of Muni, Lassa, Dagu, Masaka, and Watu ($31,000).
-- Repairs were carried out at the Kwarhi Clinic of EYN ($10,000).
-- A Cyber Café was created, bringing much needed Internet service to the EYN headquarters area. ($2,800).
-- A soybeans project to educate and encourage the growing of soybeans, and building a value chain of products for sustainability, has been underway ($25,000).
-- Two tractors were purchased for use on large tracts of land to produce cash crops for independence of EYN, and to produce cash to purchase food for the needy and cover medical costs and school fees ($67,000).
Some new families who were rescued from the Gwoza area are coming to relocation villages, Hill reports, including a young 17-year-old girl with a two-month old baby whose father was a Boko Haram member. Gwoza has been one of the areas hit hardest by the Boko Haram insurgency, and has four districts that have been closed. Another woman who had been forced into marriage with a Boko Haram member was able to escape when he ran from the Nigerian military. A woman who was rescued from the area with her four children had been separated from her husband, who is still missing.
EYN Women’s Ministry (ZME)
Women are benefiting from Livelihood Trainings through the EYN Women’s Ministry (ZME). In one example, a woman was able to start a store in Uba where she is offering training to other women in need. They are learning sewing, knitting, soap making, and bead making. “It is wonderful to see Mary benefiting, making a living from the assistance, and sharing her knowledge with others,” Hill reported.
Refugee camp in Cameroon
Markus Gamache, EYN’s staff liaison, shared that a group of women from ZME and choir leaders visited the refugee camp at Minawao, Cameroon. “The situation there is not good,” Hill reported. In his report, Gamache said that both Christian and Muslim families are trying to leave the place for various reasons including lack of food and water, and abuse of women. With regard to food distribution, “the quantity and quality is reduced and there is no other alternative to get something to eat,” Gamache reported. In addition, “more and more women are raped even at the camp. For other sources of water, men and women have to travel a great distance late at night and in the process have been trapped or harmed.”
The governor of Nigeria’s Borno State promised to send a truck to bring families back to Nigeria, but the families waited, with their bags, for three nights, Gamache said. Transportation through the border is difficult and the cost is very high.
Gamache found two families at the refugee camp who have relatives in the Gurku Interfaith Camp near Abuja, which is supported by the Nigeria Crisis Response, and he has been working to find a way to bring them back to Nigeria and unite them with their families at Gurku.
Books for Nigeria
The Global Mission office reports that a shipment of 476 boxes of books has been made to EYN. Approximately half of the books were donated by Church of the Brethren members and congregations across the United States, with the rest were provided by Books for Africa, the organization that is shipping the books. Once the books reach Jos, Nigeria, they will be distributed to Kulp Bible College and various other EYN schools and educational groups.
-- Roxane Hill, coordinator of the Nigeria Crisis Response, contributed to this report.