Srs. Martina Akhibi and Christiana Sidi address children at St. Peter’s Nursery and Primary School, Ndeaboh, Enugu State
By Sr. Christiana Sidi, SNDdeN, Province Education Director
“Education is the most important work on earth,” said St. Julie Billiart. Fifty-six years ago, in 1963, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN) responded to St. Julie’s vision to proclaim the goodness of God by coming to teach in Nigeria! No doubt many people continue to benefit and share this unique privilege of being “equipped for life” in all our schools. We educate children irrespective of their ethnic, religious,
social or economic backgrounds.
Presently, we, SNDdeN, work in six nursery/primary schools, and six secondary schools across the country. We serve 2,309 pupils in our Nursery/ Primary schools (Kindergarten 1-3, Nursery 1-3, Basic one to six) and 1,592 students in the Secondary Schools (Junior School 1-3, Senior Secondary School 1-3). We work with 192 staff members in Nursery/Primary schools), 268 staff members in Secondary Schools. All schools have Sisters as administrators, bursars, and teachers, who work with lay co-workers, inspired by the spirit of Notre Dame and who inculcate in the learners Catholic values and St. Julie’s educational ideals.
Rita Ezekwem and Caroline Ajaegbu with students of Notre Dame Girls’ Academy, Amoyo, Kwara State.
We struggle with affordable tuition and fees, to give everyone the opportunity to receive a good education, because most learners come from middle class or lowincome earner homes. In spite of our efforts, many families find it hard to pay students’ school fees. Administrators, adjusting lower fees, face the challenge of paying just wages to our co-workers and providing a good education to those living in poverty. The government does not give any subsidy to support “mission” schools; school fees are the major sources of income to meet expenses in our schools. The Congregational Ministry Support Fund helps many schools meet some needs; other individuals and groups support our schools financially, enabling us to carry on the mission.
Sr. Christiana Sidi with children of Our Lady’s Nursery and Primary school, Kulende, Kwara State.
Our Sisters prepare young children for life in the following schools:
Sacred Heart Catholic College (Abeokuta, Ogun State)
St. Joseph’s Nursery/Primary School (Ogwa, Edo State)
St. Peter’s Nursery/Primary School (Ndeaboh, Enugu State)
Notre Dame Nursery/Primary School (Ugwumunike, Enugu State)
St. Michael’s International Nursery/Primary School (Kontagora, Niger State)
St. Michael’s International Secondary School (Kontagora, Niger State)
Notre Dame Nursery/Primary School (Awkunanaw, Enugu State)
Notre Dame Academy (Awkunanaw, Enugu State)
Our Lady’s Nursery/Primary School (Kulende, Ilorin, Kwara State)
Our Lady’s Secondary School (Kulende, Ilorin, Kwara State)
Notre Dame Girls’ Academy (Amoyo, Kwara State)
Notre Dame Girl’s Academy (Kuje, Abuja State)
Students of Our Lady’s Secondary School, Kulende, Kwara State.
The service we provide to those living in poverty, experiencing the transformation that education brings to individuals and society, gives us joy and spurs us on to continue this unique mission of forming young people for life, as did St. Julie Billiart. We must continue to “exist for the poor, absolutely for the poor” (St. Julie Billiart).