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®Ruth Musa for Action contre la Faim ®Ruth Musa for Action contre la Faim

Testimony

Nigeria

Never Too Old to Start Again

Enlightenment renewed her mind and access to cash reawakened her hope to start a business despite her age. 70-year old Marka Mai Balangu, a grandmother to 13 grandchildren in Jajere A, Fune LGA, Yobe, Nigeria tells her story of survival and recovery that has shimmered ray of silver lining in her life’s journey.

Marka Mai Balangu lost all her children to insurgency and other misfortunes and had to shoulder the responsible of catering for her 13 grandchildren who are still very young to relieve her. Her husband too old and frail do not have the capacity to provide for the need of the family. Caring and feeding the entire household without means of livelihood added more wrinkles to her already creased face. Daily survival was largely from alms received from well-meaning friends and relatives.

"It was tough keeping up before help came to us through Action Against Hunger."
Ruth Musa for Action contre la Faim
Marka Mai Balangu
Yobe, Nigeria

In August 2018, Marka got enrolled into the Social Protection programme targeted at reaching extremely vulnerable population in her community with cash and social behavioral change messages aimed at improving their capacity.

I was given NGN 18,000 monthly during the extreme lean season, NGN 11,000 monthly as things lightened up and NGN 7,000 monthly as crops began to blossom. The money would not have been too helpful if it was not backed by various vocational trainings the program exposed me to. Among the several skills I was taught, I took particular interest in liquid soap making and baking of home-made cakes”. Marka commented as she scooped liquid soaps into bottles in preparation for the day’s sale.

Marka Mai Balangu is among the 720 identified vulnerable beneficiaries in her Local Government who received unconditional cash transfers and vocational training during the cause of our intervention.  She never took light her training. She clutched tenaciously to them utilizing every information she received. She currently makes a profit of NGN 500 on daily basis from her sales and hope to try out new skills she learnt to expand her income base.

I have re-enrolled some of my grandchildren who once dropped out of school and we don’t have to beg or wait on people to feed anymore. I am grateful,” Marka said as her lips curved in a smile.

Marka Mai Balangu is learning to keep her dream of giving her grandchildren a better life aglow as she resolves to stay diligent and sustain her business growth.

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