Not all Heroes wear Capes. Some go and make a difference in the lives of IDP’s and Shuwargwe Damak and her NGO, the Arm the Child Foundation is one of such people.
One of Nigeria’s rising problems is the refugee crisis. There is a surge in the number of refugees and IDP’s (Internally Displaced Persons) in almost every region of Nigeria. The years of insurgency under the Niger Delta Militants and Boko Haram, Fulani Herdsmen and other actors has led to a great number of people including tons of children displaced and having to live in camps.
In these camps, of course, education, as well as feeding, is a major problem. If care is not taken, I fear in the next 30 years our greatest problem in Nigeria would be the refugee crisis because there will be a big demographic of uneducated people with violent psychological scars.
Shuwar and her friends seemed to sense this problem too and Arm the Child Foundation was founded. Sarauta Magazines I interviewed Shuwar and there’s so much to learn from her!
Hello Shuwar. Please briefly tell us about yourself?
I am Shuwargwe Damak a graduate of Babcock University, with a Bachelor’s degree in International Law & Diplomacy. I am a very empathetic and driven young lady who tries to explore the things I am passionate about and build on them. My passion for child development led me to start up a Non-governmental organization, Arm The Child Foundation founded to deliver quality education to and improve the welfare of internally displaced and vulnerable children.
Outside the NGO, I’m involved in many other things including fashion. I run a clothing line, Maxi Stitches, a female clothing brand that designs and produces maxi dresses for women (the interviewee photo is one of her own designs! Amazing). My clothing line has grown and garnered so much attention that I was nominated for the SME 25 under 25 award in 2017 under the category of fashion and I have been featured in foremost Nigerian dailies including Business day.
What led to the formation of Arm the Child Foundation? What circumstances and thoughts led to it?
In 2017 I and members of a book club I belong to visited an orphanage on children’s day and developed an interest in volunteering to teach them English having noticed their poor communication skills. However, I found out they were enrolled in schools so I decided to take it to IDP camps instead. But before taking it to IDPs I decided to make it more systematic by organizing a summer school for IDPs and vulnerable children themed Arm The Child Project. Following the conclusion of the summer school, I decided to register Arm The Child Project as a Non-governmental organization, thus Arm The Child Foundation.
How has the journey so far been?
It’s been eye-opening and challenging. Every day there is an increasing need to do more. It has also been heartwarming, watching the children smile each time we are around. We’ve grown from running one project to running three. We’ve been involved in child development projects. All in all, it has been a blissful journey.
How was the fundraising and campaign for your first summer camp? What were the responses of people and what does that reveal about our society?
The fundraising campaign was fruitful.
Quite a number of people responded. The outcome of their response suggests that a lot of people out there are willing to help notwithstanding the increasing rate of online fraud.
From your experience, how well do you think the Federal government has arrested the refugee problem?
No, I don’t think the government has done so much to address the refugee problem. They are not trying to restore peace to the Nation in order to reduce an increase in the number of refugees and the living condition of the already existing refugees.
What are the major challenges of education In the IDP camps you have visited?
- Unwillingness to learn on the part of children.
- Difficulty in sustaining their attention without the use of physical items such as sweets, biscuits, juice etc.
- Lack of proper building structures that can be used as classrooms.
What advice would you give young Nigerians out there who are trying to join worthy causes like Arm the Child Foundation?
My response is in the question. There are a lot of worthy causes out there to support and being a part of these worthy cases gives you a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment. A worthy cause may not be an orphanage home or IDP camp, it might be your neighbour or fellow student. Learn to extend a helping hand, learn to put your hands to use
As you have read, Shuwar didn’t have to wear a cape. She just had to assemble an army of young passionate people and teach some unfortunate kids so they could become something later in life. She has saved their futures and played a role in whatever they would become.
Follow Shuwar on social media and stay informed on her different projects. Hopefully, the world will be a better place.
To contact Shuwar you can use the following
Twitter: @shuwarr; @armthechildfoundation
Phone No: 07054511218
Thank you for reading you can check previous stories on heroes who don’t wear capes here.
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Last modified: April 10, 2021