Help our local partners realise their vision of hope for their communities
This is an update from Canon Hassan John, coordinator of the Mai Adiko Peace and Reconciliation Project, located in Rayfield in the city of Jos, Nigeria.
The project brings together members of the Christian and Muslim communities for skill-sharing, sports, business generation and other activities. For an introduction to this project, please click here.
You can read a photo essay about the project here.
“In 2015, we worked on helping those who had some skills start their own little businesses. Five women wanted to start small food stalls, and so we encouraged them and worked on getting market outlets for them.
One of the ladies, from the Christian community, came to us looking quite sick and a little traumatized. I inquired what the problem was but she was not willing to talk to me at first. She later confided in her friend that she was sick and was told that she had a fibroid that needed surgery. Her husband had left her. She was also afraid that if she went into surgery she would die besides she did not have money for the surgery. I then asked a female medical doctor Dr Bose Toma, a member of my Church, to talk to her and assure the lady that we would take care of the medical bills if she would agree to go back to the hospital.
After some counseling and persuasion, she agreed to go for the surgery. The fibroid was successfully removed. But since she had children to take care of, three daughters, we helped her set up a stall selling vegetables and today, four months later, she is doing very well and has expanded the varieties of fruits and vegetables she sells. She now pays the fees of her daughters in school.
We have now organized over thirty widows, both Muslim and Christians, who are interested in learning skills and who do not have any type of support, for the next training propramme. For those who have children of primary school age, the Jos Diocese has offered full scholarships for them in the St. George’s Primary school, Rayfield- there are twenty children as of last month added to the others who have already been on scholarships.
The Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi and myself have six young men and women on our personal scholarships in secondary schools.
Added to our tasks, now in Rayfield, is the influx of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the Boko Haram insurgencies in the North Eastern Nigeria.
It is estimated that there are over 3000 displaced men and women in Jos. There are over 170 in Rayfield and Mai Adiko community who we have reached out to. We are preparing training for the men and women.
We are making arrangements to start a secondary school in Rayfield in an existing school facility for some of these children who were in secondary school before they fled their communities in northeastern Nigeria.
We are excited with the youth programme we started at the end of last year. These are mainly sporting activities; football for the youths in addition to the Rayfield Marathon race we organized last year. We are looking at putting up a basketball court, which we hope will serve the multipurpose function of being a basketball, tennis, volleyball and badminton court. Different groups can use the court at different times in a week. This will be a rallying point for the youths.
The 2015 Nigeria elections did not help us that much. Because of the anxiety and apprehensions that the elections generated and the fear of violence, we had to cancel and postpone all our activities till the first week in June, after the inauguration of the new cabinet for the national and state political offices.
The exciting part of the peace initiative between the Muslim and Christian communities is the visits that continue to be exchanged between the Christians and Muslims. At Easter, the Muslims sent a delegation to the St Christopher’s Anglican Church, Rayfield, to bring food and pastries they had specially prepared. They had done same at Christmas, December 2014. The food and pastries were shared and eaten in the Church. The reciprocal gesture was done to the Muslim community during the Ramadan when the Church sent grains, cooking oil and food seasoning to the Muslim community to assist in preparations and cooking in breaking of fast every evening.
We also celebrated with Zainab, one of the widows, who found a husband, the leader of the youths in our groups and were married on Saturday 16 May. We all were at the wedding ceremony to help make the day a memorable one for her.”
The Mai Adiko Peace and Reconciliation Project is one of three of HART’s partners in Nigeria. To find out more please visit the partner profile page.
For any further information and to support the the Mai Adiko Peace and Reconciliation Project, please get in touch with HART at email@example.com.