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From Hawking to Schooling

Kellu Bukar, 13, was born in the Kumshe village near Banki in the eastern region of Borno state in Nigeria. The area has been one of the hard-stricken places in northeast Nigeria since the inception of the deadly Boko Haram terrorism. As a result of frequent attacks in the region, her family was forced to relocate to Bama, a safer town at that time. However, comfort and normalcy of life have become things of the past. Food and health were the primary concerns, and the education of Kellu and her siblings was no longer primary; they only needed to eat and survive. In the battle for survival, everyone becomes a fighter, including Kellu, who hawked on the streets of Bama to help her parent put some food on their table. More unfortunately, her father, Babagana Bukar, was later kidnapped by the Insurgents, and Kelluís night in Bama became darker as her moon was out of sight. What would her future be? Could she see the light of the day again when the night lengthens and darkens? Kellu and her younger ones were left with their mother, Falmata, who largely depended on the Kellu-hawked business to feed the family. They sometimes afforded one or two meals a day. She and her siblings could not afford to pay school tuition. They were in their darkest night. Towards the end of 2022, Kellu saw a ray of hope that would change her story. She began to see a star that would shine through her darkest night. ROHI, partnering with Street Child, launched a project that enrolled Kellu and her siblings in an education program designed for out-of-school children. The project enrolled out-of-school children for learning and provided livelihood support for the childrenís parents or caregivers. ROHI, in collaboration with Street Child, trained the parents (caregivers) on managing small-scale businesses and gave them capital to startup businesses. This Family Business Scheme (FBS) enabled the childrenís caregivers to cater to the needs of their families without loading school-depriving responsibilities on the children. This strategy relieved Kellu of the hawking and helped her to attend the evening lessons she enrolled in. Her learning center was at Kaigamari primary school in Bama, near the camp where they settled along with thousands of other internally displaced persons. Before her enrollment for the evening lessons, Kellu and her siblings could neither read nor write any alphabet or numbers because of the impact of the Boko-Haram insurgency on their family. But after undergoing the lessons for eight months, Kellu and her lesson-mates sat for an end-line test, which revealed that she has learned to read and write English and Hausa alphabets and numbers. She is proud that she can write her and her fatherís names. Moreover, Kellu can now recognize and write numbers from 1 to 100. When writing this report, her certificate was ready, and preparations were ongoing to mainstream Kellu and the rest of the learners into formal schools where they would continue learning. Though her night is not entirely gone, Kellu is happier and more hopeful; her morning is nearer. She has moved from hawking to schooling

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