"Self-awareness is a path to self-reliance"
A story of perseverance
In North-eastern Nigeria lies Borno State. The region is located miles away from the hustle and bustle of Lagos, at the opposite end of the vast country. Lately, Borno has unfortunately become synonymous with persistent suffering.
The Boko Haram insurgency has taken its toll: Loss of life, casualties and displacement, accompanied by a looming food crisis. The human toll of conflict is, as always, devastatingly tangible.
One of many people affected by the ongoing conflict is Adama. Originally from Gwoza in Borno, she and her family left their home when the security situation became increasingly difficult to endure. However, before Adama and her family had a chance to flee, the unimaginable happened.
“Two of my sons were forcefully taken by the insurgents,” Adama says. “They were only 10 and twelve years old.”
Despite the tragedy, she eventually settled in the Bakassi Camp. The camp lies in Maiduguri, a part of Borno no longer controlled by Boko Haram. Having reached the camp and escaped imminent danger, serious challenges nevertheless remained. While trying to cope with the reality of losing her children and home, Adama also found herself unable to meet the most basic of her family’s needs – such as accessing clean water.
Adama’s fate serves as a testament: Finding shelter from violence and shelling is just one stop on the way. Life in camp often suffers from a chronic shortage of appropriate facilities and infrastructure, gravely affecting the everyday life of the many people who, to no fault of their own, have to make life bearable in the camp. Lack of adequate facilities and infrastructure exposes people to unfavourable and sometimes even dangerous sanitation and health conditions. By its very nature, providing clean drinking water for your family is rendered a heavy burden, despite being a fundamental right of all human beings.
Supported by the European Union, International Medical Corps is working hard to save lives and provide dignity in vulnerable communities. We build sanitation facilities and distribute personal hygiene kits in some of the camps, now ‘home’ to countless of families like Adama’s. We also train local community volunteers about sanitation and hygiene. Such training is vital to achieve resilience and self-reliance within affected communities. As such, International Medical Corps provides lifesaving assistance - in times of urgent need, but a community is also given the skills and knowledge to rebuild itself.
“In order to protect my own life and the life of my remaining family, I knew that I had to do something,” Adama says. "When I heard about the services provided by International Medical Corps in the camp I knew they could help.”
International Medical Corps provided Adama’s and her family with sanitation services and hygiene kits. She told us they were crucial for the overall well-being of her family. Thanks to so-called water purification tablets, Adama was also able to provide safe drinking water to herself and her family. In order to live a healthy and dignified life, clean water is an absolute necessity – a statement that deserves to be repeated.
“Through this support I learned that self-awareness is a pathway to self-reliance.”
In spite of the immense tragedy of losing her sons and amid the hardship, an optimistic Adama sees light at the end of the tunnel.