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The Leni Keller Dac Workshop started its work on 1 October 2020, on Nigeria's National Day, in Mbiatok, a small community near the town of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State in south-eastern Nigeria. This workshop is named after Mrs Leni Keller, the mother and mother-in-law of the Keller/Kuma family after her death in May 2020. Mrs Keller was very concerned about the plight of Cameroonians seeking refuge in Nigeria because of the ongoing war in Cameroon. Her support for these people gave hope to many. Members of the DAC Community, a registered NGO in the USA, became partners in this project soon after the workshop was established.

The centre provides education and training of varying degrees with a focus on improving livelihoods.

This centre was established as an educational institution and has quickly become a meeting place a community centre for the villagers. The facility is located in a one-storey house rented by the workshop and beautifully renovated. People also cook and eat together here, and classes are held at least three times a week. Celebrations are held here and contracts are signed here between the locals and the immigrant refugees. In a short time, a place of real exchange and community has developed. 

The offer is aimed at supporting Cameroonian refugees, but it is part of the institution's policy that some of the places are reserved for the local population. Among the first 16 trainees to graduate in November 2021, 3 were from the local population.  

The curriculum, which is constantly adapted to the needs of the trainees, mainly offers training in manual skills. These are sewing, wig making and hairstyle making, jewellery making, the production of basic cosmetic products such as body lotions, creams and hair treatment products, as well as the production of hats, jewellery and accessories and clothing. The aim is to give the refugees a means to support themselves and become self-sufficient after the training.  

Some of the refugees have not been able to go to school for years. They receive support in writing and reading (the main language is English), as well as mathematics and basic courses in accounting and business skills. An introductory computer and internet course has been introduced in February 2022. 

Singing, which is part of the curriculum, and regular lectures on topics of everyday life and faith help the refugees to reflect on their past and their situation, which helps to improve their self-esteem and growth.

In December 2021, the second cohort started with 48 trainees in the meantime, including a larger number of young men. At least seven young people are from the Nigerian community. At the beginning of 2022, it became clear that childcare was needed in the second cohort, as young girls with small children were increasingly coming to the centre. In the meantime, a person has been employed for childcare and a separate room has been set up for the children in the workshop. There is still intensive contact with the first cohort, the young people continue to receive support with their questions and continue to use the workshop as a contact point.

Get to know the first year

Get to know the second year

Get to know the team


Relindis Ngum Ojong

The concept of the workshop was developed by Ms. Relindis Ngum Ojong. Born in Cameroon, she has lived in eastern Nigeria for over 20 years, is married to a Nigerian and has two growing children. After finishing school in Cameroon, she studied theology and sociology in Nigeria, trained in administration and organization and is a trained teacher. She works as a committed marriage counselor on regional television.

She is optimally networked and has a lot of experience in working with people. The workshop owes its rapid development and great success to your enthusiasm, wealth of ideas and dedication. In the first eight months of its existence, the workshop was attended numerous times by representatives of the UNHCR and received great recognition for its efficient work.

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