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Cameroon Building Classrooms for Students Fleeing Boko Haram


A family of refugees that fled their homes due to violence from the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram sit inside a refugee camp in Minawao, Cameroon on Feb. 25, 2015

A family of refugees that fled their homes due to violence from the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram sit inside a refugee camp in Minawao, Cameroon on Feb. 25, 2015

From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.

Cameroon has launched an $8 million emergency program to help students displaced by Boko Haram militants. The government last month announced plans to build classrooms and housing for 70,000 students. The children cannot attend their own schools because of militant attacks along the border with Nigeria. The classrooms will be in safer parts of Cameroon, far from the border area.

Midjiyawa Bakari is the governor of the Far North region of Cameroon. He told reporters that Boko Haram fighters destroyed 170 schools along the border with Nigeria. The students from that area fled to other areas of Cameroon. Mr. Bakari said schools in safer places can no longer provide for the increasing numbers of students.

The governor has given out contracts to build classrooms, dormitories and latrines. Mr. Bakari said he offered the work to businessmen he trusts. He wants them to complete the projects in 40 days so the children can go back to school.

Businessman Ngeh Foncha was asked to supply electricity to the schools. He said the government has helped speed up the work by reducing the time it takes to get administrative approval.

Mr. Foncha said his crews planned to bring electricity cables and poles to building sites. He expected 80 percent of the work to be completed within three weeks. The new school term is to begin in the second half of April.

The government has sent the military to the sites. Ibrahim Joel Mahamat is the local delegate responsible for basic education in the Far North region. He said nearly half of the displaced children are primary school students.

An estimated 33,000 children have been displaced from primary schools on Cameroon’s northern border with Nigeria. Mr. Mahamat says he thinks that soon these boys and girls will have good classrooms so they can study in safer localities.

The school children are among the 100,000 people who had to leave their homes since Boko Haram became active in Cameroon. The militant group is seeking to set up an Islamic state.

I’m Jill Robbins.

Moki Edwin Kindzeka reported on this story for VOANews.com. Dr. Jill Robbins wrote it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

dormitory - n. a large room with many beds where people can sleep

latrine - n. an outdoor toilet that is usually a hole dug in the ground

site - n. the place where something (such as a building) is, was, or will be located

locality - n. a particular place or area

Now it’s your turn. What do you think of the school building efforts in Cameroon? Are there refugees from wars near your country? Are there displaced children from wars near your country?

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