Hauwa is a 13-year-old girl who lives Nigeria’s Yobe state and is one of the 129 million children who have been forced out of school because they live in countries affected by crisis and conflict. Hauwa herself is an internally displaced child as a result of the conflict in northeastern Nigeria dating back to 2014, which has uprooted over 2.5 million people. With both of her parents killed during the conflict, Hauwa grew up as an orphan and has been living with her uncle, Umaru. Umaru was unfortunately not able to cover financial expenses for Hauwa to go to school, leaving her without any formal learning opportunities. 

Once the education of a child living in a conflict setting is disrupted, evidence has shown that they are less likely to return to learning, even if schools in their community resume classes. Initiatives across the humanitarian sector have so far failed in being able to provide the most vulnerable children with sustainable access to learning opportunities. Hauwa is just one of millions of children living in crisis settings who face the risk of never having her access to education restored. 

The International Rescue Committee’s partnership with Education Above All Foundation (EAA)through their  Educate A Child (EAC) program, aims to address this education gap through contextual-based solutions that meet the specific needs of children like Hauwa in conflict-affected communities in northeast Nigeria. The partnership seeks to create educational opportunities for 20,000 children that are scalable and address the compounding crises and extended disruptions that children in Nigeria have faced in being barred from learning. 

Some three million children in Northeast Nigeria’s conflict-affected regions are missing out on an education, and existing inequalities and protection risks due to the conflict in 2014 have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic in recent years. 

In March 2021, Hauwa was enrolled in accelerated learning and non-formal learning programs run by the IRC Nigeria country team through the partnership with the EAA Foundation. Before enrolling in the program, Hauwa had spent most of her days selling water in the streets, while other children attended school. After attending the program for nine months, she was able to be enrolled into a local primary school in her local area, and is now happily doing well in her classes. 

Hauwa excels specifically in math, and her dream is to become a medical doctor, telling the IRC: “I want to become a medical doctor so that I can treat people when they’re sick. Going to school has now given me the opportunity to restore my lost hope.  Thank you, IRC, EAC, for giving me this wonderful opportunity!”

To learn more about the partnership between EAA Foundation and the IRC, read the partnership announcement on rescue.org, and to learn more about the foundation’s work in reaching out-of-school children, visit the EAC homepage here