*story of 20-yr old Faith and Anthony
By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
They are both 20 years old, they live in different communities, but share similar problems; lack, poverty, disappointment, with no one to lean on, no one to help and support them out of the harsh economic situation they found themselves.
20 years old Faith Gabriel’s dream of becoming a doctor came to a halt when she dropped out of school in 2017 during her final senior secondary school year because she had no money to pay for her enrollment as a result of the economic situation in her family.
While Anthony Micah’s hope of being the man in his family was dashed, when he had a fatal road crash that claimed his legs, while running an errand for a neighbour.
Interestingly, Faith and Anthony both live in different flood prone communities in Nasarawa and Romi, both in Chikun Local Government Area in Kaduna State.
They are two out of the 5,000, beneficiaries of the Shock Responsive Social Protection (SRSP) project who received N35,000 each in the state.
The circumstances they both found themselves, makes life almost unbearable for them, until the SRSP project, reached to them.
The SRSP is a pilot Cash Transfer programme of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) country office in Nigeria, International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC), and the Nigerian Red Cross with European Community Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) funding, in cooperation with the Red Cross affiliated Climate Center based in the Hague, aimed at mitigating the impact of floods on 5000, households in six flood prone communities in Kaduna State, that have been victims of floodings in the last 10years.
The project targeted pregnant and breastfeeding women; (women-headed households), children aged 0-5, (child-headed households), people with disabilities (sight, hearing, walking, intellectual impediment, e.g. amnesia, etc.) and the elderly (from 60 years of age) multidimensional poverty (based on income and assets).
“I was just at home thinking about my life when one man on Red Cross vest walked into our house and asked me several questions, at first I was wondering why the questions, but he explained to me that he came to capture my information because I am a nursing mother. So I gave him attention”. Faith, explained.
Faith’s daughter is just 6months old and does not have access to the kind of care she deserves because the mother who is supposed to provide for her, only put her hope in God for the next meal.
“My baby will be 6months in few days, taking care of her has been difficult because there is no one to help us, I only look up to God everyday for our survival. It has been a life of struggle ever since my father died in 2012.
“My dream was to become a doctor, ever since my father’s death, my mother who does not have anything tried to ensure I continue my education, until 2017, when I was to enroll for my WAEC (West Africa Examination Council), and my mother couldn’t raise the money and there was no one to help.
“And I have been at home doing nothing and then I gave birth this year. Things have been very hard for me and the baby, but with this money I received today, I can assure you that my life will be transformed for the better”. She gladly said.
Hope came alive for Faith, the moment she got a call to come to the SRSP payment location in her community. “I didn’t believe it initial, until the caller told me to come along with the slip that was given to me on the day I was captured.
“Immediately I got there and saw other people receiving the cash, I started drawing out my plans on what to do to multiply the money because it is a big opportunity for me.
“I learned how to knit sweat shirts sometimes ago and I couldn’t afford the materials especially the knitting machine which is more important, so I made up my mind to buy the machine with it because I know there is profit in that business.
Already, Faith has deposited the cash she got from the SRSP for her knitting machine to the seller, “But thank God, this money came, I had to quickly went to deposit it where they sell the machine because I don’t want to spend it. This money is a big opportunity for me to liberate myself and baby from lack.
“I know that as soon as am able to get it, that will just be the beginning of good life for me. I still believe I can still achieve my dream of becoming a medical doctor, and that dream can never die, with this money I received and with the help of God, I tell you I will use it to reorganize my life and achieve my dream”. She said.
Faith, who could not hide her joy, thanked Red Cross, UNICEF and partners who made it possible for her to be reached, promising she can never disappoint them.
For Anthony, who now majors in plaiting female hair, doing business may not be in his plans, but managing his health has been his major concerns.
“Since I had the accident some years ago, I have not really recovered from the pain. I kept going back to hospital and buying drugs, there are several drugs an supposed to gave gotten in the last 3months but I had no money to buy, so the first thing I will do with this money is to go get some of my drugs”. He said.
Since 2015, Anthony, have been experiencing floods in his area. Despite his ill health and condition, he continue to live there. “I don’t have anywhere else to go, I can’t afford rent elsewhere with this condition I am, no means of survival, the only thing I do is plait hair for some women in my area and that is what I been living on.
“During that 2015, floods, I had a terrible experience in my house. I was alone when water started coming inside my room, it was just like a movie to me, I couldn’t rescue anything in my house.
“Before you knew it, is like I was about drowning so I had to start shouting and some of my neighbors came and carried me to a safe place, it was a huge miracle for me. There are people I know in that area that died as a result of that flood.
“But the subsequent ones were not as bad, but the walls will be soaked and everywhere cold. I hardly go out ones it starts because everywhere becomes wet.
“So this money came at the right time because I will be able to my drugs, buy food stuffs and keep the remaining one, while I continue to manage with the little am getting from plaiting hair, in case the floods come again this year because we don’t know how serious is going to be.
Anthony who poured out his heart in praises for UNICEF and Red Cross, prayed God to always use them to meet the needs of the poor.