Zabi: Sewing a better future
MICRO-PROJECT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM SET UP BY RESILAC: GONGULONG COMMUNITY IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF JERE, STATE OF BORNO, NIGERIA
Zabi Umar (center) with beneficiaries of the RESILAC labor-intensive work program in Gongulong
The Gongulong community in the Jere local government area of Borno State experienced a stalled conflict with prolonged attacks that negatively impacted the community's livelihood.
Zabi ALHAJI MARU, a 33-year-old widow, the sole breadwinner for her seven (7) children, the youngest of whom is barely five years old, benefited from the economic and social recovery project. This project provided short-term employment opportunities to the most vulnerable households through income-generating activities, including the construction of irrigation and water systems, in order to mitigate the economic and social effects of the ongoing conflict in the region.
"Before the intervention, I earned a living by sewing, knitting and making embroidery for community members. Before, I earned barely five thousand naira per month because the sewing machine was always defective and I could not meet the demands of my clients, so I did not earn enough to feed my children, let alone send them to school.
A change in Zabi's activities occurred in 2019 with the RESILAC project. She was identified to participate in the "cash for work" activity. As a result, Zabi earned N50,000 (USD 137,725) per month for three consecutive months.
RESILAC's cash-for-work program has directly enabled 300 young people (229 men and 71 women) to benefit from cash-for-work assistance, opening up a new career path for them. To help them maintain their income, a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) was created, with participants striving to save their business profits to improve their capital. This translates into more economic opportunities for women.
The increase in her income has enabled Zabi to provide a better life for her family; her children can now go to school.
"After I received the money, considering the problems I had with my sewing machine, the first thing that came to my mind was to buy a new sewing machine. Afterwards, business has been flourishing and customers are now more satisfied. I'm very happy to have been part of this project which has given hope to my community," Zabi said excitedly as she worked on a piece of fabric she was sewing.
Zabi also bought a sewing machine for her eldest daughter as a wedding gift. "With a heart full of gratitude, my income has increased so much that I can feed my children and send them to school," says Zabi with a sigh of relief all over her face, wearing her beautifully decorated scarf with the RESILAC-ACF brand, as she shares her story.
Zabi Umar sewing clothes with the machine purchased with the money she received as a beneficiary of the RESILAC labour-intensive work program.
Zabi with her children. From now on, they can go to school.