By Hadiza Bawa-Garba

'Vision without action is hallucination'

 – Thomas Edison

When my good friend Mina called me to talk about working together on a project that would empower people I got very excited.

You know how that saying goes, if you give a man fish you feed him for a day and if you teach him how to fish you feed him for a lifetime? we initially thought about helping women from disadvantaged communities start small businesses like sewing and making Akara*. With as little as N10,000 (equivalent of about £20) you can get someone established in the Akara business and making a daily wage for her family.

Then COVID hit, we realised that until the immediate and most urgent needs were fulfilled, there was little place for a new business especially in the lockdown climate. We decided to focus our efforts for this period on providing food to families that needed it.

Having done a few food drives myself and seeing the impact that the gifting has had on people, we thought we could start with that.

It was actually very easy to organise. Once we knew how much we could spend, we purchased the food directly from wholesalers in bulk at the markets and divided it up. Mina made it a point that we used homegrown produce so we were supporting the local Nigerian agriculture market. We bought sacks of local rice, beans, millet and maize. The money you contributed £200 (N100,000) gave us enough grain to feed 20 families (2adults + 2kids )  a good daily meal for a fortnight.

Pastor Joseph helped distribute packs on behalf of a strong Christian majority Kaduna South, whilst Mallam Yakubu took packs to Muslim families in Kaduna North.

There is a lot of talk quite rightly of COVID and how it is affecting a lot of lives, but even before this, for these people there is poverty and COVID has just made it much worse. The insecurities that many Nigerians face means people can’t go to their farms without fear of being attacked or some cases kidnapped. The situation is sad, and many people have without pride taken to begging for the bare necessities. This is the reason why I was pleased to be able to facilitate this Namu initiative.

They say that the most selfish thing we can do is give, that is so true because I feel so happy when I am part of the solution and not the problem. Thank you for giving me another priceless opportunity to serve my community.

*Akara is a type of fritter made from Cowpeas. It is found thoughout West African and Brazilian cuisine.

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