Abandoned Mother and Four Children Receive Boost from CUBS

Abandoned Mother and Four Children Receive Boost from CUBS

{Photo credit: Lola Akinmade, Nigeria. Courtesy of Photoshare}Photo credit: Lola Akinmade, Nigeria. Courtesy of Photoshare

In 2005, "Chima" abandoned "Sinachi" and their four children to marry another woman. Heartbroken and unemployed, Sinachi returned to her home village and became a farmer. Although she worked hard, Sinachi’s children often went hungry and did not attend school for three years because she was unable to pay the fees.

Fortunately, in May 2012, the PEPFAR-funded, USAID project, Community-Based Support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (CUBS) in Nigeria held an event in Sinachi’s village to raise HIV awareness and enroll vulnerable children in support programs. When Sinachi attended the event and explained her situation to the CUBS staff, they immediately referred her to the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.

The Ministry’s commissioner helped Sinachi advocate for support from Chima by meeting with him to discuss the children’s needs and his responsibilities. Swayed by the authority of the commissioner, Chima now pays his children’s schools fees and calls them frequently to inquire about their well-being. Recently, Chima also gave Sinachi money to rent a better home and start a small business.

Sinachi is relieved to have this extra support from Chima. Sinachi said:

"Although he is married to another woman, he is now taking charge of the children’s education. He has moved them from a public to a private school, sewn new uniforms, and bought books and mattresses for them. Most importantly, he now communicates with them regularly."

The children are also grateful for Chima's support. One of Sinachi’s children said:

"We are now living in a better house and we go to a better school. We are happy that people talked to my father and he agreed to start taking care of us. Thank you!"

CUBS is a five-year project led by Management Sciences for Health in partnership with Africare. Since 2009, CUBS has worked to improve community-based care and service referrals for vulnerable children and caregivers. In recent years, this work has also expanded to include state-level advocacy for caregivers of vulnerable children, especially single women and those struggling economically. CUBS is currently providing psychosocial, health, and educational support to over 50,000 vulnerable children and 12,500 caregivers in 11 states of Nigeria.

James Ayodele is a communications consultant for MSH Nigeria. Kate Amaka is an intern with CUBS.

(Names of individuals in this story have been changed to protect their privacy.)