Communities Provide Support for Nigeria's Neglected Children
When parents suffer from mental illness, they often neglect or otherwise abuse their children and it is difficult for family or community members to intervene. USAID’s Community Based Support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (CUBS) Project, led by MSH and Africare, is providing assistance to the communities that support these children in 11 Nigerian states.
In Rivers State, the CUBS project assists the David Bassey Ikpeme Foundation, a community organization, in identifying and supporting orphans and vulnerable children. When five-year-old Azubuike Nzirim and four-year-old Chinyere Nzirim were suffering so badly from malnutrition that they could not walk, the foundation intervened. The children lived with their mentally ill mother, who would often leave them on their own for days at a time and prohibit family and community members from helping them.
The foundation engaged the Rivers State Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Rehabilitation, which convinced the children’s mother to allow them to be given assistance, paid for the children’s medical care, and provided them with housing in a local children’s home. The children have now gained weight and can walk again. They are visited regularly by family members and the Rivers State Government is helping the children’s mother get mental health care so that she can be reunited with them.
Rivers State has 1,600 orphans and vulnerable children enrolled in the CUBS Project.