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“Our Stocks Are Gone’

20120123.5529591

Voices of beneficiaries: Sapa Rabiou, 55 years old. Sarkin Rima village, Maradi
Jan. 21, 2012

Sapa Rabiou, 55 years old. 11 children, 30 grandchildren. She cares for her elderly husband and three grandchildren in Sarkin Rima village, Maradi, Niger. Sapa participates in CARE's cash-for-work program. © 2011 CARE/Melanie Brooks

Sapa Rabiou, 55 years old. 11 children, 30 grandchildren. She cares for her elderly husband and three grandchildren in Serkin Rima village, Maradi, Niger. Sapa participates in CARE's cash-for-work program. The program, implemented in partnership with WFP, provides participants with 1,000CFA per day (approx. USD2) in exchange for work clearing pasture land of an inedible weed that has taken over the pasture area, and reseeding it with local grasses that will serve as food for local cattle.

"We started to worry last year just before the harvest, when we saw the attack of crickets in our fields. Normally, I would harvest 100 bales of millet from my field. This year, I only got one and a half bales. Some families got nothing.

"I asked one of my sons, who normally harvests120 bales; he only harvested six. We realized we were all in the same situation. And we knew it would be hard. But we had no choice.

"I started selling thatch and firewood to feed my family. I have to walk to Maradi to sell it – it takes four hours each way, and I only earn enough to buy one measure of millet – enough for my family for half a day.

"Our stocks are gone. We have no food. Two weeks ago I started the food-for-work program with CARE. I was paid for the first time yesterday, and I bought food – enough for my family for 10 days.

"If it weren't for the CARE program, I would have had to borrow money. I would have lived day by day, doing what I could to survive, to at least put something in my stomach. I already sold my cow and two goats; I only have one chicken left. There is nothing in my house – just mats on the floor. I've already sold everything.

"My husband is 75, he's too old to work. It's all up to me. How can I be afraid? There's no use to be afraid. This is the situation, whether I'm afraid or not. I have to continue. But everyone in my area is afraid. We were affected by the 2005 crisis and barely recovered. I'm trying to survive this one. I can't say what the future will bring."

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Posted by dfava@care.org on Jan 23, 2012 11:56 AM US/Eastern

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