It is difficult to comprehend what it is like for many children in rural Nigeria who have never been able to attend school—the sense of being left behind must be profound. But perhaps being forced to drop out of school because your family simply cannot afford the fees anymore is just as heart-breaking.
When Lovelyn* came home from school one day and realised she would not return, she felt lost and hopeless. She loved attending school. Now, she faced the terrible prospect that her education was over.
Lovelyn lives with her mother and two siblings in a small home in the rural community of Apatuku. Just two months ago, Lovelyn’s life and that of her family changed completely when her father died suddenly. Lovelyn’s mother became a widow at a very young age, caring for her three children alone. With no source of income from her husband’s previous work, Lovelyn and her older sibling had to drop out of school because fees just could not be paid anymore. As life became desperate and finding food for the family was almost impossible, Lovelyn’s older sibling was sent to live with a relative. Lovelyn grieved for many things: her father, the loss of her older sibling, and the chance of the bright future she hoped an education would bring her.
When Julianah, the coordinator of Apatuku Community Based Organisation befriended the family, she found them hurting and desperate. Understanding her call to care for the community’s most vulnerable, she stepped in to help. Lovelyn and her siblings were invited to Apatuku’s Care Point where they were guaranteed a hot meal every day. Julianah also became a familiar face in the family’s home, spending time with Lovelyn’s mother and speaking words of encouragement and hope. But best of all for Lovelyn, she has been given a place in school again. In Apatuku, a free education is provided for children just like Lovelyn who otherwise would not have one.
Although Lovelyn’s family are still grieving the death of a father and husband, they are grateful for the support and compassion the Care Workers are bringing to their lives.
*Child's name has been changed