The Reward of the Work we do

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4 years ago I went into an internally displaced persons camp to document the lives of those who have been displaced by Boko Haram insurgency, most of them women and children of school going age.

This camp, was one of those that had some sort of education going on for them. I met and interviewed very brilliant boys and girls from different parts of the north where they have been displaced from.

One of the impact they had on me is their hope in a better future and their resolve to not allow their dreams die. You would see it in their eyes, in their sheer determination to survive despite having to sleep in crowded hostels with no proper mattresses or bed, you will see it in the joy they had for just being alive yet another day and not having to worry about being attacked, you will see it in their resilience to stay alive and be positive despite being orphaned or not knowing where their parents or siblings are, whether alive or dead. Despite the horror they went through, they held on to dear life. You will see it in their commitment to their studies though it wasn’t the conventional school arrangement.

Few days ago, I got a note from Instagram. It was one of the ones I interviewed. John. He told me he graduated as the best student in his department. He studied law. He told me in 2019, he chose to do law to get justice for all those displaced some day. A huge dream but definitely not impossible. I read his note with so much gratitude. Gratitude that he held on, gratitude that though life snatched most of the important things of life from him (his parents and siblings were killed by the terrorists), his little light has continued to shine. Not only him graduated, but several others.

His note was so heartwarming including asking me to thank all those who provided some sort of support to the camp and helped with paying fees for some of them after the documentary aired. Quite frankly, I do not know most of the people who did, but like him, I am also grateful to each of those people

May John’s light continue to shine and may life be kind to him and many others there. I sleep tonight, an absolutely fulfilled girl!

Amaka Okoye

Amaka Okoye

A seasoned and an award-journalist who has practiced both in and outside of Nigeria. She has covered varied beats but her forte is Conflict and Crisis Reporting. She majors in reporting terrorism, banditry and abductions in the Northern part of Nigeria.

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