26-year-old Khadija lives with her husband Jabar, and their four children inside a camp for internally displaced people in eastern Nigeria. She said the family were forced to flee their village after armed men threatened everyone who lived there. Like many other families in the area, their life was severely impacted by the ongoing conflict in Nigeria.
‘We were too afraid that, if we stayed, we would be shot dead or beaten. We knew we had to run for our lives, especially to protect our children’, Khadija explained. Like most families from their village, they left in a hurry, in the middle of the night, taking nothing but their children with them in search for a safer place.
‘We trekked all the way until we arrived here (at the camp), it took two full days as one night passed on the road, and then it was night time again when we arrived’, said Jabar.
When they first arrived, the family was living in the school building in the camp, where most newly arrived people stay, but it was tough with no basic items at hand and not enough space.
‘We were sharing the space with many other families, it was very crowded and did not always feel safe’, said Khadija. Thanks to the emergency ShelterKit provided by ShelterBox and its implementing partner ACTED, containing tarpaulin, timber, rope, and nails, the couple were able to build their own shelter, where they now live with their children.
‘Now we have our own space as a family, and we have some privacy, unlike before’, explains Khadija. With the support of ACTED and ShelterBox, the family also received a kit containing essential aid items including a kitchen set, water carriers, solar lights, and mosquito nets.
Khadija said she really appreciate the items for cooking: ‘The pots and water carriers are very helpful, before we received these, it was challenging to prepare food and collect water’. She and her husband are also relieved that their children are no longer forced to stay in the sun during the day like they used to do, the previous overcrowded building did not provide enough space for all. ‘We feel it is safer and more comfortable for our children to be in this shelter, we are also using the mosquito net that was part of the kit to protect them from mosquitos at night so that hopefully they do not get sick.’
‘Most issues we faced when we first arrived have been solved or alleviated’, said Khadija. However, they are missing their village and hope to one day return to the land they were farming before they had to flee.
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