Sarah's story

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Sarah's story

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My name is Sarah

Through the Stronger Women, Stronger Nations programme Sarah has gained the financial independence and inner confidence that she always dreamt of.

My name is Sarah, I live in Nigeria and I am the second child of six children. After my mother died, my elder sister and I had to fend for ourselves by taking up roles of caregivers within the community, and sometimes, we were saddled with the responsibility of providing food for the family. I had to drop out of school to focus on farm work and trading to make ends meet.  

According to my father, school was not a priority for girls since we would get married and leave home. Consequently, he only sponsored my eldest brother beyond secondary school.  

Things became more complicated when my father fell ill and could no longer feed us. It was a hopeless situation, my siblings were always hungry as there was little or nothing to eat. This led to my decision to marry my husband when I was just 16 years old. However, the major hurdle was that I had to relocate to a distant community after I got married when my reason to get married was to take care of my siblings. This got me worried! 

While trying to solve our family problem, I seemed to have gotten myself into another one. I was depressed and cried myself to sleep almost every day. 

Before marriage, I made up my mind not to be like my mother, who had no means of livelihood to provide even the barest need for her children. I wanted to start a business to ensure that all my children go to school and are well provided for, but it seemed only a dream. 

Sarah in her kitchen
Photo credit: Women for Women International

The Women for Women International programme was my ray of hope. It felt like I was finally completing my education which was cut short by poverty.

We received different training manuals with lots of pictures to help us understand and apply the knowledge to our lives. Our first topic on solidarity and building effective social networks was very educational as I understood that women could achieve a lot if they work together.  

The programme has changed my life. We now discuss issues as a family and ways to improve our family. I have also deepened my relationship with my children,  I try to spend more time talking to them and discuss the topics I learnt in class so that it will also improve their lives.  

From the monthly stipend I receive, I am in my Village Savings and Loans Association, and very soon, I will take a loan to buy staple food items that I can sell to earn money. One of my group members taught me how to make chinchin, a local snack made with flour, sugar, yeast and margarine. I now sell the snacks within my community which has improved my income and savings.  

Sarah with four of her children.
The financial independence Sarah gained allows her to prioritise the items her children need for school. Photo credit: Women for Women International

Instead of waiting for my husband to buy the items, I use the rest of the money to buy foodstuff and provide some of the things my children need for school.

This financial independence that I now have has further reduced the quarrels between my husband and me and has also improved my confidence.  

I am very grateful to my sponsor, whose help has contributed to making me a better woman. I will do whatever it takes to ensure that her contributions to my life do not go to waste. I am eager to start vocational skill training to learn how to keep sheep and goats as another source of income and I look forward to how that will further improve my life. 

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