The Annual Literacy Project organised yearly by Eunice Spring of Life Foundation (ESLF) has engaged over 5000 children with literacy promotion activities since it first took place in 2015 even before the formal inception of the Foundation in 2016.
Founder of ESLF and First Lady of Benue State, Dr. Eunice Ortom disclosed this today at the Mbawa Internally Displaced Persons Camp 3 in Daudu, during the 7th Annual Literacy Project organised to mark this year’s Children’s Day and promote literacy skills among the over 500 children to which the Foundation donated bicycles, exercise books, text books, white boards, pens and other teaching and learning aids geared towards enhancing their education.
Dr. Ortom who said the Annual Literacy day was one of the special days the Foundation looks forward to in May every year, revealed that the event avails the Foundation the opportunity to impact the lives of children in many ways.
The First Lady, who said ESLF would offset the IDP Camps teachers’ salaries for April and May, pointed out that as a mark of its unwavering commitment, ESLF had consistently organised the Annual Literacy Project every year without fail since 2015 when the present government came on board in the State.
Expressing delight at the modest milestones so far achieved, Dr. Ortom noted that “it is one of our modest ways to support and improve the lives of our children”.
The ESLF Founder praised the commitment and resilience shown by the children who had thrived against all odds and defied the threats from the farmer-herder crisis which drove them from their ancestral homes.
She explained that the “Read Aloud” which is a signature component of the Annual Literacy Project, comes with sundry benefits to both the reader and listeners as it expands their vocabulary, aids learning, kills ignorance, imparts knowledge of happenings in distant lands, helps develop learning skills, enhances speaking ability, sharpens analytical skills and enhances discernment.
Dr. Ortom who added that the exercise equally hones their listening skills, sharpens cognitive ability, helps them develop informed minds that, in turn, aids them in good decisions making and admonished all to develop the culture of reading.
The First Lady said in line with ESLF’s commitment to education, it partnered the Benue State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and other organisations in 2018 to kick start the Benue State Emergency Education Programme in IDP camps, originally the brainchild of the State government and some development partners.
She affirmed that donation of the educational material was to mitigate the impact of the displacement and appealed to relevant authorities “to take action that would ensure safe return of the children to their ancestral homes to grow, learn and develop without fear”.
Highpoint of the day included the “Read Aloud” session where the First Lady read the book titled, “Alom, Mfa-iyongo-ga and the Special Grain” written by Su’eddie Vershima Agema.
There was also a competitive “Spelling Bee” contest between 4 schools with Master Terna Nyiesuwe of IDP Camp 3 Daudu Learning Centre clinching the first prize, Gabriel Uor of IDP Camp 1 Daudu Learning Centre coming second while Grace Bem of IDP Learning Centre, Uikpam and Theophilus Nyitamen of IDP Learning Centre, Abagena came 3rd and 4th respectively.
Congratulating the winners, Dr. Ortom, encouraged them to keep up the promising literacy spirit they had exhibited and urged their fellow contestants to worker harder to improve their literacy skills.
Earlier in his welcome address, Head Teacher, IDP Camp 3 Learning Centre, Mr. Nyiatagher Osbert, thanked Dr. Ortom for organising the event at the camp and offering them the chance to interact with her and her team on their peculiar challenges.
In their separate goodwill messages representative of United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), Mrs. Beatrice Shomkegh, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Tabitha Igirgi, Executive Chairman SUBEB, Mr. Joseph Utsev, Director General of Radio Benue, Dr. Charles Iornumbe, and Chairman, Benue State Taskforce on Human Trafficking, Mrs. Gloria Bai commended ESLF and its Founder and promised to partner with them to advance the humanitarian cause.