This is why Barrister Zannah Mustapha deserves the World Humanitarian Award

Borno state born Barrister Zannah Mustapha has been nominated as one of the top three finalists for the 2016 edition of the prestigious Robert Burns Humanitarian Award. This globally acclaimed award is given to a group of people or individuals “who have shown selfless and dedication in a bid to save, enrich or improve the lives of others through the protection and promotion of human rights and work to deliver social reform.” The winner of the humanitarian award will be announced on January 21, 2015, however, this is why Barrister Mustapha deserves to win.

Mustapha is a legal practitioner based in Maiduguri, he is also the proprietor of Future Prowess Orphanage School, an academy established for children orphaned by the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. The academy which kicked off in 2007 in his house which started with 36 children. However, as of last year, over 400 orphans are being educated in the school.

A cross-section of pupils at the Future Prowess Islamic Foundation School, Maiduguri

Armed with the objective of preparing these orphans for effective integration into the society, he ensured that his children and those of the teachers enroll their children in the school. In an interview he granted to Daily Trust, he said “They [the children] eat and do everything together and the wisdom is that if I did not put my children here, then there would be no commitment towards the project. Our ultimate goal is to give the orphans the best and to prevent them from being stigmatized by mixing them with our children. The orphans don’t feel that they were neglected; that is the kind of mentorship we are giving them.”

Mustapha has shown a great deal of bravery and altruism by taking in orphaned children, (even those of the Boko Haram soldiers), providing them with uniforms, books, shoes, with little monetary support from the government. “By bringing together an array of children touched by opposite sides of the conflict and enabling them to study together, the school offers “sort of template” for a future peace,” he said.

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