CFM's children's homes began when we saw how many children and youth our friend, who cares for those who have had to flee faith-based persecution – had in his home. Though
trying to put these kids through boarding school, he simply didn’t have the funds to pay the fees
and was also unhappy with the way they were being cared for in the schools. Subsequently, our
friend withdrew the kids (14 of them, at the time) from the boarding school and we decided to
begin our children’s home.
Now we have 72 with us, all aged between 5 and 22. We would have 172 next week if we had
the space! We currently rent a large house where all the children live. There they are cared for by
both paid staff and mature Bible college students, male and female, who understand this as
ministry. All the children attend school. Most are in primary school and some even had to start
with pre-school, even though they are older (some 12 or 13) because they did not speak English
and have never before had access to such schooling. Some have completed primary school in
the Hausa language but their English is not good enough yet for them to enrol in a secondary
school (where lessons are in English). Instead, they attend intensive English lessons and
proceed with secondary school classes in both English and Hausa.
Some of the children have parents who are Christians from Muslim areas where there are
no regular schools, only madrasas (Islamic educational institutions), where there is often a lot of
pressure for the children to become Muslims. Several of these children have lost both parents,
either in religious tension or from accidents or illness, and do not have extended family prepared
to care for them. One boy from a Muslim family lost both parents then broke his leg falling from a
mango tree, a compound fracture with the wound full of maggots, but was later found and cared
for by a pastor. The boy, whose uncle gave him to this pastor because he was dying anyway,
was then passed to our friend. Three operations later, this boy is bright and happy, very much
alive and now with us.
Another intelligent boy was sold by his father to a Malam (Hausa for ‘Islamic teacher’), who
pestered the father until he got the boy. The boy later escaped and is now with us, happy and
learning well. Many more of the children have a mother but no father. In a nation where there is
no social welfare, this means that widows often have a difficult time providing for their children.
Traditionally, the brothers of the dead father are responsible to care for the widow and their
brother’s children, but many are unable to fulfil this social duty because of poverty or fear of
poverty. Many try to help but do not have the means to do much. Even if the widow can feed the
children, paying school fees (all schools charge fees) is often far beyond them.