Thursday, January 24, 2019
   
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Enterprising Esther raises money for her vulnerable children


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imagesFor more than six years after the death of her husband, Mrs. Esther Adamu, 35 relied on frying and selling akara (bean cake) to support and sustain her children and others. Today, this get-up-and-go decision is now paying off. "I am now able to take care of my home, I feed my children, take them to hospital when they are sick and pay their school fees easily," she says. Her devotion to this business is not due to lack of ambition because by the end of this year, she is going into poultry business. "I have already bought a piece of land measuring 100 by 50 in Gwagwalada for this purpose but before the poultry business, I intend to introduce take-away akarapacks for some of my customers who prefer their akaraneatly wrapped in see-through plastics," Mrs. Adamu reveals. She also plans to acquire a grinding machine to quicken the process of churning out more akarato meet the demand of many people especially civil servants who leave for work very early in the morning. "At the moment, I take grinding of beans to the market, which is an additional cost both in time and money."

The death of her husband in 2008 after a brief sickness brought pains and made her take up the huge task of taking care of four children. The only option available for her to stay alive with her children was petty trading which in itself was tough. As a widow, her daily income of N200 from the sale of akarawas terribly inadequate to feed her five children and send them to school. "The load of care on me was heavy and the daily toll of waking up as early as 4.am to begin the cycle of making and selling akara was not easy.

I am also an orphan because my parents are all passed away. I started with less than N500 and making N150 to N200 daily as profit. But today, I am very happy because I do not go begging to feed my children. I make between N5,000 to N7,000 daily, I am able to take N1000 or N2,000 daily for the upkeep of my family."

Mrs. Esther Adamu attributes her success to the soft loan of N10, 000 that she received from a community-based organization called Jomurota Community Care Initiative in Gwagwalada which is supported by Institute of Human Virology Nigeria with PEPFAR funds through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "This loan helped me greatly otherwise I would not have been able to take care of my children. I have repaid this loan and taken another last year to repay in April, 2014," she says. The training she received courtesy of PEPFAR funds through IHVN is helping her a lot as caregiver.

Mrs. Talatu Shanwa, coordinator of Jomurota Community Care Initiative says that Mrs. Adamu was given another loan because of her hard work and the optimal use of the initial one given to her. "We also reason that giving her another loan will enable her to buy more beans now that the grain is available in the market to improve sales and upkeep of her orphaned and vulnerable children." Mrs. Adamu's first child, Emmanuel is 20 and Patience 18 are in Senior Secondary Schools. Hope, 15, and Blessing 13 are in Junior Secondary Schools in Gwagwalada while Samuel , 16 who is an orphan living under her care in Junior Secondary School I (JSS 1), "I hope to change line of business after training them in school soon," she says.

IHVN utilizes the services of Community Based Organizations/Faith Based Organizations (CBO/FBO) to implement its vulnerable children program. It is presently working with 40 established CBOs and FBOs to provide varying welfare services to over 100,000 enrolled children based on National Guidelines and Service Standards for OVC care in Nigeria.

Since inception in 2005, IHVN has been working with its partners towards ownership and sustainability of its community-based programs for vulnerable children. In 2009, family/caregiver empowerment initiative was adopted to cater for the needs of children under the care of primary caregivers/parents. The Program Manager OVC/Paediatric, Care and Support, Edwina Mang (Big Mama), "No matter the level of poverty or wealth, no one can better take care of children/wards better than their parents and guardians," she says, adding, "hence the need to empower them."

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