The smile on Nneka’s face was contagious. Was it only the enrollment of her children that made her so happy? Well, it was worth her smile and more, because before that day she had lost all hope that her children would complete a formal education.
Her story would bring tears to the eyes of anyone who hears it. She lost her husband in a work accident shortly after the birth of her son, her whole world collapsed on her, and yet she could not properly grieve because the role of family caregiver had fallen to her.
Her only shortcoming was her lack of education. Since she had no formal education, she could only try and apply for menial jobs that required hard work that a nursing mother could not do.
For a few months they lived off the compensation the company paid them for their loss, but between hospital visits to treat the newborn and organizing her late husband’s funeral, Nneka soon ran out of funds. After the funeral, she and the children had to leave the house they were accustomed to in order to find cheaper housing. Without any education or qualifications, Nneka was led into the harsh world of single parenthood, and even those she thought would stick with her through thick and thin slowly withdrew from her, leaving her to care for two young children all by herself.
It was a terrible ordeal, and for a time they slept on church grounds and in shelters. She tied her newborn to her back while peddling water bags from one end of the market to the other. Although she worked hard, at the end of the day she could only afford to feed the children twice a day and provide them with affordable clothing. Every night she cried herself to sleep thinking about how she couldn’t afford to pay for her children to go to school and how they had no place to call home.
As if luck was on her side, she met a woman who belonged to an NGO dedicated to helping single parents and children in trouble. After telling Ms. Ojo her life story, her case was brought to the table, where they suggested possible solutions. First, the NGO solved her housing problem by placing her in one of the special homes it had for cases similar to hers. The home was one of hundreds that the NGO members hoped to fill with homeless women and children.
Next, they enrolled her children in the scholarship program that would provide for their educational needs until she could afford to pay for it. They also enrolled her in a skills training program where she learned how to make and sell handicrafts so she would stop peddling swag and have better job opportunities.
Finally, Nneka was happy, her children would have the childhood she had always wanted, and she was no longer alone in her journey through life – thanks to the members of the NGO.