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TUESDAY September 20, 2022: 'VENICE OF LAGOS' by award winning Le Pictorium photographer Sadak Souici: Makoko is a floating slum in Lagos, Nigeria's most populous state and the epicenter of the country's fight against Covid-19. Known as the 'Venice of Lagos' it is a city on stilts, where 'People give little importance to the education of their children' and residents live under the constant threat of hunger and eviction. The affects of the pandemic has hit these communities hard, with 10 million Nigerian children still not in school. The health crisis may disappear in the rear view mirror for many Nigerians, but the school system of the most populous country in Africa will continue to struggle to survive. Welcome to 'Venice of Lagos'
© zReportage.com Story of the Week #855: TUESDAY September 20, 2022: 'VENICE OF LAGOS' by award winning Le Pictorium photographer Sadak Souici: Makoko is a floating slum in Lagos, Nigeria's most populous state and the epicenter of the country's fight against Covid-19. Known as the 'Venice of Lagos' it is a city on stilts, where 'People give little importance to the education of their children' and residents live under the constant threat of hunger and eviction. The affects of the pandemic has hit these communities hard, with 10 million Nigerian children still not in school. The health crisis may disappear in the rear view mirror for many Nigerians, but the school system of the most populous country in Africa will continue to struggle to survive. Welcome to 'Venice of Lagos'
According to the latest figures released by the UN nearly 635 million children worldwide remain affected by full or partial school closures. In low-income countries, learning losses have left up to 70 percent of students under 10 unable to read simple text. 'Students need intensive support to recover lost education. Schools need to go beyond the learning environment to rebuild children's mental and physical health,' said UNICEF Director Robert Jenkins.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
A school pickup dugout boat 'taxi' takes two young boys to school via the water ways in the early hours in the Makoko slum.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
Boats ferry passengers through the slum canals of Makoko. Weakened by nearly a decade of low oil prices and an insufficiently diversified economy, Nigeria has had to apply for several emergency grants from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank since the start of the pandemic.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
The principal of the small 'Keys to Success' school, teacher SYLVAIN HOUNKPE in his office overlooking the boats and canals of the Makoko slum.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
A young girl stands proudly on a small boat in the canals of the Makoko slum. 'Nigeria faces a huge demographic problem,' said Charlie Robertson, a British economist. By 2050, the country's population could surpass the 400 million mark.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
Aerial view of the giant slum of Makoko, on the edge of Nigeria's economic capital, Lagos. An estimated 250,000 people live there in extreme poverty.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
Two young girls sit on the plank floor of a school while sharing a text book in the Makoko slum. Nearly 90 percent of the slum's population is illiterate. 'People give little importance to the education of their children,'' said a teacher in Makoko.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
Children are taken to school by boat in the 'city on stilts' Makoko slum. Students returning to school have seen their grades plummet after seven months of confinement and dull schooling. Many will not make up for lost time post pandemic.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
Children attend classes in a tin shed school classroom. More than 10 million Nigerian children are not in school. In the few schools in poor neighborhoods, the fruits of years of progress are now threatened by a wave of uncontrolled inflation.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
'Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has become increasingly difficult to convince people to entrust us with their children', states a teacher at one of the schools in Makoko slum.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
A dugout canoe carries a handful of children who were waiting quietly in front of their frail wooden houses on stilts to be taken to school for the day in Makoko slum. The affects of the pandemic has hit these communities hard, with 10 million Nigerian children still not in school.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
Children learn during class in a small school inside the Makoko slum. More than 10 million Nigerian children are out of school and local teachers are struggling to get them all back post pandemic lockdown.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
Since 2018, the association 'Chess in Slums Africa' exists to give children the desire to go to school. 'Chess is an excellent way to develop these children and instill ambition,' explains Tunde Omakoya, the founder. Present in several underprivileged areas of Lagos thanks to partnerships with local schools, they offer about a hundred scholarships annually. And so it intends to force fate: in Makoko as no student has reached university for more than a decade.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
SYLVAIN HOUNKPE, the principal of the small 'Keys to Success' school, notes, like many others, a wave of dropouts in the schools of the slum since the pandemic lockdown ended and many children have not returned to school.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
Leaning on a balcony in the Makoko slum, VIVIANNE, 11, became passionate about school through chess. 'I didn't even speak English when I arrived,' recalls the young chess prodigy who now dreams of becoming a nurse.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
FELICIENNE, is the daughter of a fish smoker in Makoko. The women here, are mainly from the Egun ethnic group in the south-west, have no other occupation aside dealing with fish. It's their major source of livelihood.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
The pandemic lockdown ended more than a year ago, 'but many of my students are still missing,' says FIDELE NAKOUTE, the principal of the small wood and metal school in Makoko slum.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
DORCAS, 14, and ROLANDE, 12, have not been able to return to school for two years and now after lockdown ended they help their mother with the drying of fish to generate income for the family in the Makoko slum.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
'I can only afford to send three of my six children to school, so I choose the youngest,' explains PHILIP AGOSU, a fisherman from the Makoko slum.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
Boats ferry passengers through the slum canals of Makoko. The health crisis may disappear in the rear view mirror of Nigerians, but the school system of the most populous country in Africa continues its descent into hell.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
Riding a boat in the canals is JANVIER HOUEDOUTO, the co-founder of a small school made of wood and metal sheets in the heart of the Makoko slum.
© Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA Press
Sadak Souici

Sadak Souici was born and raised in the Paris region in the 1980s. Professional photojournalist since 2014, he works as a photographer represented by Le Pictorium Agency since 2015. His work ranges from news reports to photo-documentaries and long run investigations. His main themes of work are conflict zones, social life, environment and politics. He regularly publishes in France and abroad. He also collaborates with NGO's : Premiere Urgence Internationale on the war in Donbass and Ukraine, with US AID and Amnesty International in Guinea Conakry. His travels brought him to cover Hirak in Algeria, social life in Senegal and economical issues in Iraq. His images are available via ZUMA Press.:855



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