With smiles of hope for their future, hundreds of returnee children living in communities of Mubi south and Michika troop to Aun temporary learning centers close to them every evening to interact and learn with other children.
These kids who have returned back home with their parents and foster parents after the insurgency attacks in the Northeastern Nigeria which displaced thousands from their homes in Michika, Madagali, Bazza and Mubi local governments of Adamawa States respectively.
The aftermath of the devastation forced many to give up on their future, especially that of their children.
But thanks to the American University of Nigeria in collaboration with the Street Child ( funded by NHF ) for restoring their lost hopes.
Even though it is not the first time that the American University of Nigeria is implementing projects on children in the North east, this time it has further stretched out to tracing and reuniting family members, providing start up capitals for foster parents of those children who have returned as separated and unaccompanied children.
We also counsel children associated with arm forces and armed group CAAFAG who have been lured into joining the terrorist group to fight as soldiers and some have watched people being murdered before them.
The psycho-social support and counselling for the children have helped them overcome their fears and trauma said Hayatu Umar, a psycho-social support facilitator (PSS) in Tskuma,Michika.
He said most of the children before they got enrolled into the PSS program came in very timid and scared.
“We worked hard to make them feel at home through the games we play with them, the dance and even the song we sing, but right now, they find it very easy to interact with others and play, as you can see, all of them have smiles of hope on their faces” He added.
A case worker in Tskumu, Miss Cecelia Justine said every evening between 3.30 to 5.30pm, the children come to play football/volleyball, do traditional song/dance, play various games and even draw.
Through the family tracing and reunification FTR desk which was introduced under the project, two parents were successfully reunited with their children in Michika Local Government of Adamawa State
AUN psychosocial support officer miss Florence George (Street Child project) said the overall initial target number of beneficiaries provided by Street Child was 4620 but ‘’ AUN have out stretched that figure and we now have a total number of 5846 children from Mubi and michika and I think that alone is a good one ‘’.
she said the PSS activity takes place twice in a week in child friendly spaces identified in each community.
‘’We were careful in selecting the space where the PSS activity can be conducted in each community. We needed a space whereby even when a child falls down while playing, he/she would not sustain an injury, a place free from stones and broken bottles or even nails’’.
She added that the various centers for PSS activities are located in Mubi South (Muguluvu, Wuro-Patugi and Nassarawo communities) and Michika ( Tudun wada, Zaibadari and Tsukumu communities).
Reported by Nubwa Ibrahim