Nigeria Orphanage: Personal Observations

Positive change: In 2018 when I visited the orphanage at Miango, waste from the girls hostel building was draining from a pipe to an open pit. The children were receiving two meals a day consisting of gruel, a type of cereal mixed in water. Two times a week the children were each given an egg. Also, twice a week the children received some form of protein.

What happened?

A lady evangelist founded the orphanage in Nigeria and after a few years effectively abandoned it. Her ministry had stopped furnishing funding, so the appointed headmaster, Joshua, and the local trustees were left to do their best to care for 147 children with no outside help. Attempts to locate the evangelist failed.

Buildings were in poor repair and there was not enough water supply to flush waste properly from buildings.

Where to start?

There are 18.5 million orphans in Nigeria. One million of those have been made orphans because of attacks by the Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen … both Sunni Muslim. Most of the 147 children at the orphanage had come from homes destroyed by terror attacks and had lost one or both parents. They did not have anywhere to go.

The Religious Freedom Coalition does not have the size or revenue to assist a million children, but we can help some. In 2018 I began having our accountant, Shatha, regularly send enough money to purchase a month’s supply of protein for the children and allowance for three meals a day. For Christmas 2018, gifts to the children included leather and other material to make shoes, because most of the children had none.

I had new wells dug, built a new double water tower and supplied pumps for the wells. Pipes were run to all buildings and new toilets were installed. Proper waste disposal was provided for.

On August 2nd, 2021, all the work we had done at the orphanage was destroyed when Sunni Muslim Fulani herdsmen invaded the Christian village of Miango. Hundreds of adults were killed, homes and churches were burned — and the orphanage was invaded, with every building burned down!

Our team had already headed to Miango to rescue the children! Soldiers had set up roadblocks into Miango and at first did not allow our buses in to rescue the children. Our volunteers were allowed to proceed only when the soldiers were told it was a mission commanded by God to save the children. The children were delivered from certain death by the grace of God.

Everything was destroyed — even the children’s clothing was lost, and the farm we had planted was overrun by the Fulani cattle and destroyed! Yet, from that destruction came hope and a better life for the children.

Because the orphanage founder could not be located, I helped to set up an all-new organization and registered it with the state. I have a Nigerian Residency Card that gives me full legal privileges in Nigeria. Our new orphanage was formed two years ago.

The Deliverance Celebration: On Sunday morning a celebration was held in the new chapel at the orphanage. I was honored to have been present for the celebration which occurred on Nancy’s 74th birthday. The children made a cake and sang happy birthday to her.

The difference in the children from five years ago when I first found the orphanage is staggering. They all have commercially made shoes that fit and new school uniforms. They live in dormitories with
hot water showers and flushing toilets and have three hot meals a day.

The teachers are actually paid now!!! On the land we bought we have renovated all the buildings and constructed several new buildings, the last of which is just now being finished and will have the ability for a second floor.

Room for more children? Yes, a few. We have made space for 15 of the children most in need after the attacks in Mangu Local Government, just south of Jos. More than 200 died and hundreds of homes were destroyed. Many more children need homes; but we can only house a few.

While at the celebration for the deliverance of the children from harm two years ago, I took the time to visit the classroom building we have under construction.

In the bottom photo I am standing on the roof! Instead of tin we have poured concrete for the roof. This will allow expansion. With the cement roof we can add a second floor at less expense in the future.

In addition to classrooms, the new building will have five bathrooms accessible from the outside. This is much needed by the students during the day. The green building in the background is of similar construction but has a traditional tin roof and cannot be expanded to two floors.

We can expand to accommodate more victims of Islamic terrorism, but there is a limit. I want quality living and educational environments for the children.

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