3:08 pm - Tuesday October 20, 9615

BREAKING NEWS: NIGERIAN Amazon, DR. DALI Wins UNITED NATIONS Award…Saving, Caring, Re-integrating BOKO HARAM Widows and Orphans into society *Helped 650,000 displaced persons in the North Eastern Nigeria *Her SON abducted in 2011 during Jos, Plateau State crisis and has not been found till date *Becomes Recipient of the 2017 UN Sergio Vieira de Mello Award *Still first humanitarian actor to set up a livelihood programme for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), takes risk of reaching areas considered inaccessible and dangerous at the peak of Boko Haram’s insurgency * “The Sergio Vieira de Mello Award is conferred biennially, to draw the world’s attention to the unnoticed efforts by individuals, groups and organisations doing something special and unique to reconcile people and parties in conflict”-UNITED NATIONS *PLUS plans for her family trip to United States as Green Card recipients BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/FOREIGN BUREAU CHIEF, UNITED STATES

BREAKING NEWS:
NIGERIAN Amazon, DR. DALI Wins UNITED NATIONS Award…Saving, Caring, Re-integrating BOKO HARAM Widows and Orphans into society

*Helped 650,000 displaced persons in the North Eastern Nigeria
*Her SON abducted in 2011 during Jos, Plateau State crisis and has not been found till date
*Becomes Recipient of the 2017 UN Sergio Vieira de Mello Award
*Still first humanitarian actor to set up a livelihood programme for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), takes risk of reaching areas considered inaccessible and dangerous at the peak of Boko Haram’s insurgency
* “The Sergio Vieira de Mello Award is conferred biennially, to draw the world’s attention to the unnoticed efforts by individuals, groups and organisations doing something special and unique to reconcile people and parties in conflict”-UNITED NATIONS
*PLUS plans for her family trip to United States as Green Card recipients

 

BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/FOREIGN BUREAU CHIEF, UNITED STATES

HER STORY is that of resilient, determination in the face of adversity, hope in the face of hopelessness. Dr Rebecca Dali, Executive Director of the Centre for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives (CCEPI) sees every challenge as a stepping stone into outstanding success. Since the attack by Boko Haram, Nigeria’s terrorist group on defenseless, unarmed innocent Chibok girls, CCEPI has unilaterally cared for 650,000 displaced persons in the North Eastern Nigeria. The dedication and consistency of this Bura speaking community Wandali born woman in Kwaya Kusar LGA, Borno State to passionately care for victims who are widows, orphans of Boko Haram attacks made her win the 2017 United Nations (UN) Sergio Vieira de Mello Award for work re-integrating Boko Haram victims.

Dr Dali, as wife of the former President of the Church to which most of the 276 Chibok girls belonged, was amongst the first to visit their parents after the mass kidnapping in April 2014 and she focused on ways to help victims of Boko Haram’s insurgency in the north-east.

According to UN, Dr Dali won the UN Award because her centre is “at its best” in caring for women, children, and orphans, the most vulnerable populations in north-east Nigeria, ravaged by eight years of violence.

Certainly, the Sergio Vieira de Mello Award is conferred biennially, to draw the world’s attention to the unnoticed efforts by individuals, groups and organisations “doing something special and unique to reconcile people and parties in conflict”.

This godly and prayerful woman recitation letter from UN read: “This is in recognition of the courageous efforts of you and the CCEPI to promote the re-integration of returning women abducted by the Boko Haram group back into their local communities. As the communities resisted their re-integration, your negotiation skills and reconciliation efforts played an important role in their successful re-integration.”

It is on record that CCEPI has been a leader in expressly taking care of children born of girls abducted by Boko Haram who are referred to as “bad-blood children” in the southern part of Borno State. This was corroborated by Hanson Tamfu of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said Dali has been instrumental to the re-integration of women who lived with Boko Haram in spite of resistance from the integrating communities, as she advocated against the double victimisation of the women.

In the words of Tamfu, Dali was the first humanitarian actor to set up a livelihood programme for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and returnees in the Madagali and Michika local government areas of Adamawa. He said that the centre took the risk of reaching areas considered inaccessible and dangerous at the peak of Boko Haram’s insurgency, at a time when other NGOs could not, “Widows are particularly vulnerable in north-east Nigeria, the area most affected by the Boko Haram insurgency. For many, the loss of their husband is the beginning of hardship for them and their children, who may not then be able to get an education,” she explained.

On her experience of the hardship of people in north-east Nigeria, Dr Dali reportedly said during the weekend of 6-7 September 2014, Boko Haram militants took over the town of Michika, in Adamawa, compelling her and husband to flee.

In her words of appreciation to UN, Dr Dali states on her Facebook timeline: “I dedicate this award to my son Timothy, who disappeared in the Jos crisis (21 March 2011), to the abducted Chibok girls and many who are still in captivity. Praying for all of you to come home. And if you are gone in the process of suffering, until we meet in heaven, where there is no injustice and threat but everlasting peace.”

 

Dr. Dali had set up CCEPI in 2009, the year Boko Haram’s insurgency in Borno State began, before its violence later spread to Yobe and Adamawa States, and neighboring countries (Niger, Chad and Cameroon). CCEPI has been working in partnership with international organisations including the UNHCR and the International Rescue Committee, and has gained trust among local communities.

The award ceremony held glamorously on 21 August in Geneva, during the celebration of World Humanitarian Day. Sergio Vieira de Mello, a Brazilian UN diplomat, died when his Iraq office was blown up in 2003. For the records, Rev Samuel Dali is the former President of the Church of the Brethren (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria, or EYN).

Dr Dali and husband, both recipients of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Green Cards are planning to visit America soon.

 

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