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To raise awareness, provide resources and offer hope to Nigerian victims of famine, systematic genocide and religious cleansing by Boko Haram, Fulani militants and other extremist groups."
Nigeria is a country of 174 million people. Half of the population is Christian; half Muslim. Since 2006, Boko Haram (meaning ‘western education is forbidden’) has been aggressively attacking those who don’t agree with their radical Islamic philosophy. They have slaughtered, maimed, burned and bombed those who don’t adhere to their radical agenda. They have pledged their allegiance to ISIS.
During this past decade of intense violence, UNHCR (2017 Report) has reported that 26 million people in Northeastern Nigeria have been negatively impacted by famine and terrorism due to Boko Harams’s activities. This is the population of Texas. There are (conservatively) 3.3 million people living in Internally Displaced Persons camps without adequate food, water, shelter, clothing, medical aid or hope. The International Red Cross and other international aid agencies have reported that famine and malnutrition are at epidemic proportions. Sex trafficking is a grave concern for the multitude of children orphaned by Boko Haram. Women have endured repeated rapes and a multitude of women have become widows. Additionally, another group of terrorists, the Fulani militants/herdsmen, have recently been active in the Middle Belt of Nigeria. They, too, target populations that don’t adhere to their radical Islamic agenda.
Problem being solved?
On April 15, 2014, almost 300 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram from their Chibok school. The story made international news headlines. And, the atrocities of Boko Haram were finally exposed beyond Africa.
International humanitarian and relief agencies, including the UN, stepped up their efforts to provide aid to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and other victims of Boko Haram. However, the pervasive culture of corruption that exists in Africa in general, and Nigeria in particular, made it extremely challenging to get emergency and relief aid to those in need.
How are you solving it?
In September 2014, Doris Yaro, the founder of Gabasawa Women and Children Empowerment Intitiative, was invited by the US State Department to attend a Leadership seminar because of her successful humanitarian work with the poor and marginalized in Nigeria. It was through this visit to the US that Doris met the current Executive Director of Voices4Nigeria. This providential encounter birthed Voices4Nigeria.
Doris’s organization encouraged the Chibok girls to receive an education. When they were kidnapped, Doris was the first person contacted about the abductions. When some of the girls escaped, Doris personally took these girls into her home and cared for them. Additionally, she provided medical, emotional and physical care for the mothers of the kidnapped girls (for two years!)
Gabasawa presently provides education to 15,800 children and cares for 7,800 families. Doris is from Borno State where the violence by Boko Haram has been and continues to be intense (though it is under-reported). She has personally witnessed the atrocities of terrorism by her family and friends. She currently has three orphans (victims of Boko Haram violence) living with her.
In 2016, Voices4Nigeria was able to send almost $1,000,000 of medical and relief aid to the victims of Boko Haram in the Northeastern Nigerian Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps via Doris and Gabasawa. We have partnered with Project Cure to send medical aid and equipment and partnered with several other local and national groups to raise awareness and send relief aid.
· $547,710 of Disaster Relief aid delivered to medical facilities and IDP camps
· $398,225 of Medical Equipment to Borno State Hospital
· $9300 of clothing to the IDP camps
· $7,810 sent for food purchased and distributed in the IDP camps
· $5000 sent for 2000 treated mosquito nets that were distributed to widows and children in the IDP camps
· $3000 sent to help pay for transportation and security costs
· 150 NEW children’s tee shirts supplied by Angel of Hope Org. (Michigan) for the IDP orphans (valued at $15 each)
Voices4Nigeria was invited to be interviewed on three major Denver radio stations – KOA, KNUS and KBPI. Also, Voices4Nigeria was invited to participate in raising awareness of the Islamic terrorism of the Fulani militants in Washington DC via the 21st Wilberforce Initiative in their presentation to the US State Department.
So far in 2017, we have sent another Disaster Relief container valued at $239,932from Project Cure and are filling a private container with duffel bags full of items for victims of terrorism – i.e., peanut butter, baby formula, baby bottles, clothing, “instant” oatmeal, soup, nutrition bars, small toys, toiletries, etc. We have sold various items that have been handcrafted to raise income. We have been invited into several area high schools to address the current situation and needs in Nigeria. And, Rotary International is considering giving us a grant to begin a Skill Set Training Center in Nigeria. Also, Women of Vision, a project of World Vision, has set aside June to focus on the needs of Nigeria via Voices4Nigeria. This includes both awareness and financial support.
Why are you qualified?
In the book “Dead Aid” by Dambisa Mayo, it is stated that 85% of international aid sent to Africa does not reach its intended target population. Recently, the New York Post reported that the Governor of Borno State is accusing some UN agencies and international aid agencies of misusing funds meant for the IDP’s and victims of Boko Haram. Governor Shettima said that the presence of 500 UN workers and expenditures of $334 million in Borno State is “questionable” for its lack of impact.
Voices4Nigeria partners ONLY with Doris and Gabasawa Women and Children Empowerment Initiative. Doris travels with everything Voices4Nigeria sends, to its desired destination in Northeast Nigeria and the IDP camps. Her willingness to accompany the medical and relief aid is delivered at great personal risk. She has provided video of her travels, photos and letters of confirmation and appreciation for the entire contents of what has been entrusted to her by the recipients (both in official letters and personal letters). Everything is fully documented in detail.
Everyone working with Voices4Nigeria has chosen to work on the basis of an ongoing VOLUNTEER effort. Therefore, the only “cost” that is extracted from any donation is the cost for New Horizons Foundation’s services (for which we are extremely grateful!). Presently, we have seventeen full and part-time volunteers. People have “asked” if they can join us! Recently, Ishaku and Kasey John have joined with Voices4Nigeria. Kasey lived in Nigeria for three years where she met Ishaku, her husband. Ishaku was raised in Yobe State and has personally experienced the victimization and impact of Boko Haram. Their “voices” give unique perspective and credibility to Voices4Nigeria.
What is the urgency?
· According to Reuters news agency, Fulani militants and Boko Haram are continuing the devastation of the country's agricultural land, murdering farmers and burning their fields, resulting in famine so severe that 450,000 Nigerian children now face acute malnutrition.
· UNICEF chief nutritionist says Nigeria’s humanitarian crisis is currently one of the worst in the world because of its severity and the high number of children facing death
(Sept. 29, 2016)
· UNICEF’s Regional Director for Western and Central Africa reported in August 2016 that the scope of the crisis is yet to be revealed. In most Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, there is a severe lack of food, water, sanitation and medical care.
· The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) reported in March 2017 that at least 100,000 people have been slaughtered by Boko Haram and Fulani militants.
· The BBC reported that many Nigerian officials are sexually abusing Boko Haram victims in the IDP camps (Oct. 31, 2016)
· UNHCR 2017 January Report stated that 26 million people have been negatively impacted by Boko Haram terrorism and famine in Northeast Nigeria (That is the population of Texas). They continue that 14 million people are in “dire need” for immediate emergency assistance.