Beginning in early 2015, AUN launched its Feed and Read for Boys program. It was originally designed for Almajiri boys, but as more children orphaned by the Boko Haram insurgency appeared on the streets of Yola, and often at the gates of AUN, these boys too joined the program.
Feed and Read is simple:
one meal a day, cooked by local women and paid for by funds raised by the University, and literacy instruction from AUN and Academy students and staff.
In late 2015, the Irish government granted the University $20,000 to support a Feed and Read program for girls, as young girls who had also lost their parents were increasingly seen begging in Yola’s streets.
On the first day of the new girl’s program, over 200 appeared. As word spread, the University has struggled to support these young girls, while every day more than 100 – 100 who we cannot now support – show up for food and learning. To supplement the funding provided by AUN and by the Government of Ireland, individuals from Nigeria and from around the world have begun to support these programs through our AUN Foundation (www.aunf.org). We hope that you and your friends will join them.
AUN has sought to document Feed and Read in several ways. In photography, we have assembled two sets of images. Their World Through Our Eyes contains images that people associated with AUN have taken of these children while they are eating and studying on the AUN campus. The World Through My Eyes, on the other hand, are pictures taken by 50 of the boys in Feed and Read who were given disposable cameras and asked to record what was important in their lives away from AUN. The girls will do the same in the next few months.
On November 19th, on AUN’s 11th Founder’s Day, the first group of Feed and Read children who have passed our exams will “graduate’ and will then begin public school in January.
With your help, another group will take their place.
In addition to the generous donors supporting our efforts, including His Excellency Atiku Abubakar, there are many others to thank – for both the program and for helping with the pictures. The credit for the original idea for Feed and Read Boys goes to Umar Aliyu – an AUN driver who is now one of AUN’s community outreach staff. Umar himself reached out to guardians and Mallams for permission for the boys to join our new initiative. Joseph Oladimeji, AUN’s former Student Government President and a 2015 alumni, has been a tireless driving force behind Feed and Read Boys. Nkem Uzowulu and her wonderful staff and students at the AUN Academy, including Blessing Bello, Elizabeth Raymond, and Ijidai Yohanna all volunteer their time to inspire the girls in Feed and Read Girls. Many AUN and Academy students have volunteered their time for tutoring, and Audu Liman and the staff of the Atiku Center for Leadership, entrepreneurship and Development have helped with organization and accounting. We would also like to thank Brian Perkins, Dr.WilliamBertrand, Oluwaseun Famuyiwa, and Marta Jamarillo
for their assistance with the photography and the Feed and Read visual display.
Please support these young children in their quest to survive and to build better lives for themselves and for their country.
Margee M. Ensign