From Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
No fewer than 5,129 children forced out of schools in Borno during the 12-year insurgency are receiving mental health care and Psychosocial Support through a project funded by the European Union (EU).
UNICEF office in Nigeria announced in a statement on Monday. It said the global body was handling the mental health support for the Out-of-School children in six local governments of the state.
‘At least 5,129 conflict-affected out-of-school children in Borno State, North East Nigeria, in six local government areas are receiving services including mental health support in safe spaces to strengthen their well-being, resilience, literacy skills and self-reliance,’ it said.
UNICEF representative in Nigeria Peter Haekins said the 12 years of violence in the northeast has inflicted enduring scars and psychological challenges on many children in the region.
‘The scars of conflict are real and enduring for children. Too many children in northeast Nigeria are falling victims to the conflict they did not start,” Hawkins said. He maintained attacks on children must stop
The project, according to Unicef, also support vulnerable children with the protection and health services, vocational and basic literacy skill acquisition, a cess to justice and security among others. It described the project as holistic aimed at returning the affected children back to life.
EU Head of Cooperation, Cecile Tassin-Pelzer, said addressing the psychosocial well-being and development of children and teachers in conflict situations, was an important part of re-establishing education provision and enabling children to re-enter school safely after years of violence.
More than 300,000 children were killed and over a million children displaced in the 12 years of insurgency in the country s northeast, UNICEF revealed, quoting a recent Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) needs assessment of conflict-affected children in the northeast.