Bonn · The fact that hostile families and regions in Nigeria have come together to some extent has also been achieved with help from Bonn. For 25 years, the Enyiduru Project has been supporting projects in Nigeria, including the construction of an education centre.
The Enyiduru Nigeria education project founded in Bonn is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Its literal father is Father Dr. Boniface Amu. Among the many projects is the building of a school.
Through a partnership between his Nigerian homeland and the Archdiocese of Cologne, Amu was sent to Bonn in the 1980s to study Catholic theology. He completed his doctorate between 1990 and 1998. Before returning to Nigeria, friends in Bonn asked how to help his homeland. "For me it was clear and important: real help for my compatriots can only come through education," recalls Amu, who will be 66 on Christmas Eve. Therefore, on July 19, 1996, the Enyiduru Project Nigeria association was founded under the motto "Education is Liberation". "Enyiduru" translates as "elephant", an animal that stands for wisdom, strength and long life.
School fees for children
"Our first plan for Nigeria was a family education centre, focusing on the poor and uneducated," the priest explains. Initially, school fees were paid for children from different religions. Then, with the support of the Hilfswerk Deutscher Zahnärzte (HDZ), we were able to build our own school in Nigeria in 2006, including a school farm where the children can learn agricultural skills, "with the aim of later growing their own crops for a living," Amu reports.
Not only knowledge, but also honesty and togetherness are to be taught to the now 430 school children, who all "have to come from families without opportunities", whose parents commit themselves to educational workshops. There they learn the dialogue between different regions and religions (Christianity, Islam, natural religions) from which they come. This is to "break down enmities", says the 65-year-old. The school staff also consists of 28 teachers, two cooks and two security guards.
"After 15 years of school work, the whole region has now changed in a new awareness and hostile families are talking to each other again," Amu sums up. Birgitta Schneider, who helps run the project from Bonn, is also proud: "This school has now become like an island of peace, togetherness and security in a country marked by violence, corruption, insecurity and conflict.“
For the future of Nigeria, Amu wishes "that we in our different tribes live together in peace and become capable of dialogue. I wish for a country without fears and violence, without corruption and fraud." For this reason, a home economics school is also being planned, and the best child in the class will be financed to attend a school similar to the German Gymnasium.
For this, however, the project is still dependent on donations, which it has so far received from the HDZ and the Brothers Grimm School in Cologne as well as from private individuals. The Corona pandemic has also caused particular hardship here: food prices have doubled in Nigeria, a country where only just under one percent of the population of more than 200 million citizens has been fully vaccinated. The Enyiduru project distributes food to 450 families every two months. "What cost 5,000 Euro a year ago now costs 11,000 Euro because of Covid – for the same amount of food," says Amu, who is currently making his annual visit to Bonn.
Donations can be made via the website www.enyiduru.de.
Original text: Marco Rauch
Translation: Mareike Graepel