No mother should see her child starving

No mother should see her child starving

Publication info

Posted
1/17/18

Lami Mahamadou is a 35-year-old mother of six. She had everything in life. Her husband, Issa Adamu, was a fisherman who made sure she never missed anything. She was living life to the fullest.

One night in Baga, Nigeria, they heard people screaming and gun shots everywhere. The town was under fire. They were attacked by armed groups. They had to run and leave everything behind. They took all of their children and ran for their lives. They reached Malam Fatori in Nigeria, 10 kilometers away from Baga. But a few weeks later they were attacked again at several stops on their journey until they finally reached Djambouroum, 70km away from Diffa, in eastern Niger. 

Lami and her family were homeless for a year before settling down in Djambouroum. She had a lot of trouble feeding her children during that time. They would go for days without eating. “I was hopeless and powerless. Seeing my children suffering of hunger and becoming weaker day after day broke my heart. We would go several days without eating. Sometimes, when we encounter well-meaning people, they would give us some food. I’d manage to split the food, which was meant for one person, between all of my children. I am really grateful for those people who helped. May God reward them because without them, I would have lost all of my children today,” says Lami with a sad smile on her face and tears in her eyes. Across the region, one in every three families is food insecure and one in every two people needs urgent humanitarian assistance. 

“When we settled in Djambouroum, I was desperate and scared that we’d have to run away again. CARE helped us settle. We received clothes, soap, underwear, and baby potties. CARE also built a Child Friendly Space which is a playground and a place where children can get psychological assistance to deal with their trauma. I took my children there. They were taught games and were helped overcome their trauma. They’d come home and repeat what they were taught. More than you can imagine, it helped me too. I was more than glad when I heard the Child Friendly Space will give children breakfast every morning and lunch twice a week. My children finally started recovering,” she says.

“Now, thank God, I have received cash from CARE and with that I can buy food for my family. I was able to save a little and bought a sewing machine with which I now tailor clothes for the community and earn a small income. CARE also trained us on issues such as domestic violence and abuse, rape, and more. We were taught how to help women overcome it.

“I’m also part of the new village saving and loans association group that started a few months ago. I have come a long way. I was on the verge of losing all of my children, and now I’m rebuilding my life slowly but surely."

Lami says she hopes for a future where her children will never have to be hungry again and that they will pursue education until they hold diplomas in their hands. “I went on for days without eating because it meant I could save my children. That is what kept me going. No mother should see her child starving. Today, seeing them healthy and playing around is just priceless.”

Lami and her family were homeless for a year before settling down in Niger. Credit: Rakiétou Hassane Mossi/CARE

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