NGO Empowers Vulnerable Women, Survivors of Abuses in Maiduguri
By Abdulkareem Haruna
A non-governmental organization in Borno state, Allamin Foundation, had on Tuesday, Jan.17, 2023, provided economic lifelines to a selection of 30 young women who had suffered one form of abuse or the other while in conflict-induced displacements.
The young women who are either survivor of gender-based violence or persons in a vulnerable state of being were trained on petty trading skills as a coping mechanism while still living in displacement.
Though the Borno state government has shut down IDP camps, many displaced persons are perching in host communities or unofficial centres. Most of the participants were drawn from those conditions of displacement.
According to officials at Allamin Foundation, some of the girls were victims of rape or those made to mother children whose paternity cannot be tracked
The young girls were trained on various business ideas during a 2-day workshop where relevant resource persons coached them on hotty trades in baessentialommodities like cooking ingredients, knitting of native caps, sales of apparel making and selling confectionery.
Idris Akanmu, an official at the Foundation, said the girls were also given some psychosocial support to enable them to overcome trauma.
He said the training was to help the girls and women overcome their traumas and tackle possible depression that may come as a result of economic hardships.
“This is meant to build their resilience and make them economically independent so that they don’t become vulnerable to any form of abuse or manipulations,” he said.
One of the resource persons, Hajja Bintu Bukar, from the Department of Public Administration, RamatPolytechnic, Maiduguri, said the young girls had demonstrated noticeable commitment towards being financially independent despite the bad experiences they passed through.
She said that about 30 participants, apart from receiving psychosocial counselling, also had petty business entrepreneurship training on small seasonal trades they could venture into without incurring unnecessary losses.
“Their participation was excellent, and they exhibited that commitment to be self-sufficient economically, and we felt highly encouraged,” she said.
Mrs Bukar said at the end of the two days of the movement, the girls were handed cash and started to pack to enable them to start a business.
Binta Audu-Liva, a 21 years old prospective nursing student, said she was part of the training because she had always craved to be independent financially.
“Lack of economic support is the major reason why many girls and women become vulnerable in camps, and I have seen many who have been abused and abandoned,” she said.
“I was eleven when Boko Haram chased us out of Gwoza about ten years ago. And since then, we have been living in camps, but my mother, who is known for her business acumen, did not stop her fried food businesses even when we were in the camp. That was what has been sustaining us, though at a very meager level, till when our camp was closed last year.”
Binta, lucky to be among the girls that got a government scholarship about six years ago, could complete her secondary education in 2021. She could not pass her entrance exams for nursing school last year.
“I was unable to pass the required grades last year, but I have reapplied for this year, and I’m hoping to pass so that my family and my dreams of becoming a medical personnel someday and be helpful to my community,” she said.
Binta said she would use the cash support given to her by the Allamin Foundation to start the sales of Hijab – a business she is optimistic would be lucrative because “almost everyone adorns hijab and women want to have them in variety.”
“I would be saving part of the proceeds I make to support my education,” she said.
Adama Abubakar, a mother of six, said she had most of her kids in the IDP camp. She said she has issues recalling events clearly due to the trauma of what she passed through.
Though she lived in a host community camp with her husband, they could feed well.
“Since we fled Gwoza, life has been tough for us,” she said.
“I can’t recall most of the things I went through about ten years ago, but it has been tough for my family and me since then. I hope to utilize this money to go into sales of groceries and other cooking ingredients to support my poor family. I thank the Allamin Foundation for this. To me, it’s the first of its kind.”