Written by: Abisola Shof
How it started
Our efforts in Nigeria started with one phone call with Bilkis and her father-in-law, who is based in Nigeria. He shared how severe the suffering in Nigeria is with the lockdown. “People don’t have food to eat,” he said. That’s when it hit Bilkis that she had to do something about it. She started to help out with her own funds, but then realized she could reach so many more people by raising funds. So she partnered with Abisola, and together, we have raised over $3,000 to provide food packages to poor communities in 10 states across Nigeria.
Image courtesy of Pexels
Why there’s a need
There is a genuine need in Nigeria because the poverty level is high. For many families, meals for the next day are dependent on their sales for the current day. No sales means no food. With the lock-down, everything was on standstill, and many families in poor areas are going to bed hungry. Out of desperation, some called our coordinators at odd hours asking for a few cups of rice or asking to do menial tasks in exchange for the equivalent of $2. The situation with the economy being on standstill in Nigeria is sad. There are no unemployment benefits or government aids like we have in the U.S.
What we are doing to help in Nigeria
So far, we have provided food items to over 500 families in Abuja, Edo, Kaduna, Niger, Ogun, Lagos, Abia, Imo, Kwara, and Oyo states, where we have close family and friends who can do the groundwork. We have a waiting list and are in the process of expanding to more communities in Delta and Jos. The more funds we receive, the more communities we will continue to reach.
We have also had a donor sponsor an entire community. In Abuja, while we provided food items to 63 families, we had over 150 families standing in line, desperate for food. Unfortunately, we had to turn back many. Through the help of the donor, we held a second food distribution for that community.
In addition, several of our donors have chosen to sponsor specific families in need. We send them the family’s information, and they reach out directly to them. This pandemic has hit many people hard, and any little thing goes a long way to help.
Listen to this podcast episode with Abisola and Bilkis to hear stories of the impact that contributions have made.
What you can do to help
1. Donate to our campaign (via gofund me)/ PayPal or any other campaign you trust that is serving people in need.
2. Sponsor a family in need. We will send you their information and you can help them out directly.
3. Patronize local businesses near you, who as a result of the lockdown saw all their income disappear overnight, and have had to lay off many of their employees.
About the Organizers
Image courtesy of @bilkisngo
Bilkis Ogbonna is the founder of African Cultural Association, based in Maryland USA. Stay in touch with Bilkis on Instagram @bilkisngo.
Image courtesy of @abisolahof
Abisola Shof is a blogger at abisolashof.com, where she uses humor and storytelling to share her thoughts on trending topics. She is also the host of The Successful Africans podcast, where she shares real stories of people who have made it. Stay in touch with Abisola on Instagram @abisolashof.
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