12 March 2014

Ladi’s Story of Strength



3/12/2014: A mother with six children. No job, no home, and no money. 
 
For Ladi, the situation was grim.  
 
It wasn’t always like this. Ladi and her children were once supported by her husband. In 2010, however, he was killed in an attack. From Nigeria, his family was very traditional, and believed that widowed women should marry the younger brother of the deceased. Ladi refused to follow this tradition. Eventually, her late husband's family drove her and her six children away from their home.
 
With nowhere to go and no way to support herself or her children, Ladi settled in an abandoned building in the community. 
 
Her children had to drop out of school. The family relied on hand-outs from community members and local organizations for survival. Many nights they went to sleep hungry, and they rarely had enough supplies to cover their basic needs. 
 
Fortunately, help was on the way. One of the community-based associations that had been helping the family communicated the situation to SOS Children's Village Jos Family Strengthening Program staff members. The SOS Children’s Villages co-workers met with Ladi and her family to assess their current situation and needs.  
 
The family’s most urgent need was secure and safe accommodation. The SOS Family Strengthening Program found a small, safe apartment for the family and moved them out of their ramshackle, incomplete shelter. 
 
SOS colleagues contacted a community leader and arranged for him to meet with Ladi. From there, the Community Child Protection Network helped Ladi negotiate with her late husband's family. Soon, she was allowed back into the home that she had built with her husband.
 
With additional community support, the children were able to go back to school. To ensure that they would never again be in such a precarious situation, Ladi attended training on how to support her children independently. 
 
Ladi also attended an entrepreneurial course. She now runs her own successful business selling roasted meat and vegetables.
 
Empowered by her own success, Ladi has become a community volunteer and helps support and mobilize other women in difficult circumstances. She helps them learn how to care for their families. She has witnessed first-hand what women can accomplish with the proper community support and resources. 
 
SOS Children's Village Jos Family Strengthening Program still works with the community and administers a savings and loan program, which the women can use to start their own micro-businesses. The program also offers basic business training, enabling women to run their businesses and support their families. 
 
Ladi is now independent from the Family Strengthening Program and is able to take full responsibility for her family. She continues to pay it forward within the community and to lead families in need to the SOS Family Strengthening Program.