On January 16th and 17th 2015, Niger suffered from two days of unprecedented attacks against Christians in the country. In the end there were over 70 churches burned, over 60 Pastor’s houses burned and looted, 5 schools burned, several small project sites and an orphanage. But this blog is not about those attacks, it is just to set the scene. You can google and find lots of information about the attacks in Niger if you are interested. Now peace has returned.
In the aftermath of these attacks, our staff had the opportunity to reach out to those who had been affected to lend a hand in rebuilding. Our Girls at Risk Vocational Training School is partnering with another sewing centre that was burned out and looted to get them rebuilt and back on their feet. New machines are being delivered there later this week. Our men’s apprentice training program is involved in a very hands on way to help a school that was burned and looted to be able to open it’s doors to the students again so they don’t miss out on a whole year of education.
8 classrooms were looted of anything valuable and everything else was set on fire.
A tangled mess of burned desks. The wood is gone and the metal is in rough shape.
Paul and the guys went to the school to survey the damage and to pick up all the desk frames that could be salvaged. These past two weeks they have been hard at work refurbishing 60 desks. They had to wash and sand them down, straighten the bent metal, repaint them, and put on new wood tops and seats.
They are in the final stages and will attach the new wood this week and are set to deliver the desks as soon as the school yard is secure enough (new gates required etc) to be ready for them. Paul has been encouraged to report how well all the apprentices are working, including a few new day labourers he is “trying out” who are sanding all the new wood tops. This is the perfect kind of training project where they do the same kind of job over and over again to perfect skills. Plus it’s a tangible way for them to see and experience the value of helping others when they are in need. There have been many great conversations with them as well as a result of these attacks as they discuss religion and attacks done in the name of religion.
In the midst of this project and several others they have recently got for some paying clients (making metal bookshelves, rebuilding a broken cement mixer among others) they are also trying to get the roof up! The temperatures are climbing and working in the sun is going to wear everyone out quicker. We have two of the trusses up already with three more to go, and then putting on the tough fabric roof material. It will make such a difference when this roof is up, I know they will all rejoice!