Dauda is a vibrant boy always up to something. Climbing where he was asked not to or wandering up the mountains. Keeping still is a hard skill & everyday in his world is adventurous. Kefas, him room mate is however predictable and lenient. No surprises – just following instructions and keeping still. The two boys look out for each other’s interest at home and at school. 

One wonders what could ever stop such exciting childhood from happening. Behind those happy smiles of Dauda are the untold stories of pain. Having separated from his parents following terror attack, he is a survivor to some of unthinkable horrors like having to cope with seeing his parents killed. As if that isn’t enough, the economic factors in Nigeria made it even harder for him to cope with life’s endless pressure to manage in survival mode. 

Many of his friends can only wish for someone to be there in their survival moments with food. The most important of which, perhaps, isn’t counseling at that point. Dauda’s peers have shared a pillow on a bare cold cement floors at nights. 

Children that survive such horrors can turn their lives around for good with limited resources. The story of Dauda inspires courage as he left his teachers impressed with unusual performance. Such bright future would have remained hindered like many in the country. He has finally found something worthwhile to work with, and perhaps derive some purpose doing so.



Cecilia went through a rough childhood, exposed to things too young for her to experience. When she lost her parents she ended up in the care of a woman temporarily. She brews local wine and liquor. Cecilia helps with the process, learning everything to know about distilling alcoholic beverages locally produced from guinea corn. 

The problem perhaps isn’t the knowledge or chemistry of wine but customers visiting the joint. It is as chaotic as one imagines the place to be. Drunk hostile customers as early as 10 in the morning. Fights, wine bowls thrown all over the place, and perhaps an abusive environment for a young girl.

Cecilia is a gentle soul, she attaches to anyone she feels safe with and easily cries. A sensitive girl that found her way to a safety and finally she could talk about them in a supportive house. It is as if she skips childhood, looking after others with selflessly. She is beginning to appreciate the counseling available at the house. 

Her ease of attachment emanates from a place of looking for people she could trust without anticipating when the next panic breaks as it was in her former environment. In this picture she had just cried herself to tears having told her I will travel for a while. My short visit wasn’t a much help. Cecilia attaches to anyone she feels safe with – her innocence easily manipulated by by people.

I reckon there won’t be much to worry about for two reasons. The safe house and the counseling that shows to help. I was told by her care taker on her many great strides since 10 months after arriving. Her attachment is from a place of pain which children of her experience commonly show – and is to be protected. 



We often like to think that opportunities are best presented at the right time, and for displaced children it means at the youngest age possible. Christi is 4 and while she misses her parents the care takers in the safe house have quickly become like her birth parents. This is an ideal situation we can envision for each child. To try to go back in time where our care for them would mean the most.

At the school, she is at the playground with many young kids her age. When I came with my camera she laughed and said: “it’s just Samuel” and carried on with her friends. She and Faith in the house are the youngest children, often spending time at the care giver’s house getting healthy parenting.

At this age she stands better chance to avoid late education, and obtain the parenting she so desperately needs. Such redeemable scenarios elude many young children displaced by unfortunate events, leaving behind shocks that stretches decades into the future.

With little resources available, young children can undergo adoption that will save them years of trauma in the future. While we can be proud of how they came into our care, the millions of even younger children facing even dire situation could mean only one thing – time. It ticks away every second and with it, an increased lack of opportunities available to them; widening both physical and emotional hardships.

Christi is a victim of no misconduct like the other children at the house, they are all innocent. The chance to enjoy her freedom being a child in the bliss of innocent is a gift she will never regret as she grows older.