– 19 July 2018
From poverty to role model
Ayomide and her five children were left destitute when her husband died in 2007. The family lived in two small rooms in their village near Gwagwalada, a suburban district of the Nigerian capital city, Abuja. Despite Ayomide’s best efforts to find work, she was not able to earn enough to feed and educate such a large family by herself, but with support from our family strengthening programme she has been able to provide a more stable home and future for her children.
Ayomide did her best to support her family after her husband’s death. She took a job with a local primary school but the salary was not enough to take care of the family’s needs, so she started a small-scale farming business with the help of her children. Though the family worked hard, the farm often did not produce enough to feed them all.
Water was always a concern. On days when water was scarce they had to struggle alongside other community members to get water from a few privately-owned boreholes. There was often conflict over resources and farmland was increasingly being destroyed by herdsmen.
After two years struggling to make ends meet, Ayomide was referred to the SOS Children’s Villages community outreach programme. We helped train her in the skills she needed to become financially independent such as book-keeping and entrepreneurship and gave her access to a community-based savings and loans group and the supplies she needed to grow her income.
While Ayomide built up her business we made sure the family had enough food and paid for the children’s school fees and medical bills. We also supported the family’s emotional needs, offering counselling and life-skills coaching such as childcare and parenting techniques.
“These efforts helped me and my children to cope emotionally and strengthened our determination to succeed in life,” Ayomide told us. “I learnt about the importance of hygiene for myself and my family and the importance of their education.”
Ayomide now earns a steady income from her farm and has a job as a poultry farmer which supplements her income and is teaching her a new trade. Her family lives in a three-roomed house, has access to health care and eats three meals a day.
Her children are all doing well at school or building careers for themselves. Her oldest son has graduated from the University of Abuja while another has just finished high school with good grades and hopes to go onto further study in either geography or social studies. Her only daughter has represented her school in several sports competitions and is training to become a tailor.
Ayomide’s success has made her a role model for the women in her community. She is sharing her knowledge of childcare, parenting and entrepreneurship with others and helping them improve the health and prospects of themselves and their children.