A SURVIVORS STORY: UNDEFEATED IN THE FACE OF COVID 19 – “JOURNEY TO SELF RELIANCE”

By admin | June 20, 2020

Success Story from Ngala LGA, Borno State on the UNHCR FHI 360/AHNi Protection Project

Aisha’s day started like any other typical day in the life of an internally displaced person (IDP) – long days that stretch way into the evening with nothing to look forward to except chores around the camp and listening out for the now familiar and welcome call out to assemble for dignity kits, food rations or relief materials. But the month of November 2019 will remain indelible in Aisha’s memory as it marks the month, she took steps towards rewriting her story and taking her destiny into her hands. This is the account of her journey to self-discovery.

“ My name is Aisha (real name withheld). I met Hajja and Yagana and two other women at the FHI360/AHNi managed Safe Space in Ngala LGA set up with funding support from UNHCR. Five of us  benefitted from material grant under the project after we received entrepreneurship skills training in 2019.

We loved the idea of getting something to start up a business and decided to join in the entrepreneurship training as we spend most of our time at home doing nothing. You know our lives here, we do not farm anymore because of the crisis, so we sit at home and most times when we go to collect food rations or any relieve material being distributed.

At the end of the training, five of us were provided with one sewing machine and sewing materials like threads, needles, tape and scissors to start-up a profitable business that will enable us earn income to support our families.

“During the entrepreneurship skills training in November 2019, we were taught how to use plastic bags and pieces of cloth materials to make different items like floor-mats, keyholders, laptop bags and pillows. I particularly liked the floor-mats made with pieces of materials and paid more attention to it while Hajja and Yagana chose different crafts.”

In March 2020, we started hearing about the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, we used hijab to cover our nose and mouth to protect ourselves, and due to the demand and scarcity of the face masks in Ngala, we decided to make face masks for our use and that of our households to protect them from contracting the virus. This was how the idea to produce face masks was birthed and we decided to expand our business and start the production of face masks for sale in the community.

We started by collecting raw materials for the production of the face masks, mainly pieces of leftover cloth materials from the local tailors in the community, we washed the materials and used them to make the face masks. In the first production we made 40 pieces of face masks which we sold for between N100 to N200 within the community.

Today, the business is more profitable and we produce 90 pieces of face masks daily.

From the profit we have earned, we plan to continue with the face masks production and plan to buy pasta machine to expand our business. Thank you FHI360/AHNi and the donor, UNHCR.