At a time when education is regarded as the right of the child and the responsibility of every parent to see that their wards get appropriate education, it is pathetic to discover that thousands of Kamberi children living in the upper Niger region of Nigeria are hugely denied of any form of formal education.
Living mainly with their archaic farming oriented parents on both sides of Lake Kainji, North-West, Nigeria in areas such as Agwara, Rofia, Papiri, Guffanti, Mago, Luma, Babana, Wawa, Nasko, Sabon Fegi, Ibi and Zurguma in Niger State and in places like Yauri, Buirnin Yauri, Ngaski and Kwanji in Kebbi State, these children who can neither read or write English and even their closest language, Hausa, daily wish they can be like those children they usually heard of in the big cities.
An example of such Kamberi community is Dorowa Al-Barka and its cluster of communities such as Tongu Bio, Wadata, Kona, where most of the children don’t go to school. The few that are ‘fortunate’ enough to attend the often small mushroom school that are inadequate and far away from them are been taught in Kamberi and are mostly boys.
Girls education is more like a taboo in these places, as they would rather prefer to prepare the girls for early marriage another common phenomenon among them than get them basic education while the first child of every family whether boy or girl are forbidden from going to school.
Education has been rare in the history of these people who are among the poorest of the poor on the continent of Africa and arguably the most educationally disadvantaged among the already disadvantaged tribes in Northern Nigeria.
One school can serve 5 to 10 communities which are far from each other and this are only functional during the dry season. The education in these communities is that of a dry season school. Most of the children don’t go to school in the wet season as all the roads and paths leading to the village where the school is will be cleared off and impassable.
With so much passion and eagerness to learn couple with the ingenuity of the Kamberi people who are semi-nomadic which means many of the children homes can be hundreds of mile from the closets school to them.
In this age of increasing agitation for compulsory and free education for all children, in the hundreds of Kanmberis communities across the Niger region farming and animal rearing is the education that the average male child is exposed to while the females are aware that their own education from an early age will be in their young husband houses.
The Kamberis need education. Efforts need to be channel towards making it available to them though the terrain to where they live could be difficult to get to especially during the rainy season. If the country really wants to meet the MDG goal on education by 2015, then the education of Kamberi children and others in that region can surely takes us there.
The children of Kamberi have been seriously disadvantaged throughout the generations with alarming rate of illiteracy across board. There is an urgent need for the government and organisation at all levels to help salvage the pains of the children of Kamberis tribe and the people will for generations be grateful for that.