Zara Mustapha remembers how hard life was for her in the past few years living at Doron Baga IDP Camp as a displaced person. The 18-year old girl remembered how she lived a hopeless life, completely dependent on ‘hard-to-come-by donations.’
‘It was very hard for me and my younger ones to even eat food sometimes. We ran from one tent to another to benefit from what others would cook,’ Zara said, while crying, reminiscing how things were for her.
According to her, her break-through came after she learned a trade. She learned how to knit and sell caps.
‘I pay attention to my neighbors when they knit caps. But whenever I ask them to also teach me, they would avoid me. They would say I will only waste their tread.
‘One day I asked my mother to give me N1, 000. I used it to put what I had observed to test. I ended up making one cap,’ Zara explained, as she relaxed on her mat knitting another cap. So far, she said she has sold over 19 caps – with another two about to be ready.
‘The knitting has been helping. Though my mother also weaves to help us, each time I sold my cap I would bring the money to her. Out of that, I will be given something for my personal needs,’ the girl explained.
Zara is an indigene of Konduga Local Government of Borno. She has lived in the camp for almost five years with her parent, elder brother and three of her younger sisters. Her father, 56, is now a mechanic, as he had lost his farming business to the Boko Haram crisis.
Zara further perfected her knitting skill after she attended a training program, along with 50 other young girls. The training, which started seven months ago, was organized by Street Child of Nigeria, a non-governmental organization in collaboration with the Borno State Agency for Mass Literacy, who certified the beneficiaries.
Credit: MOHAMMED M. ALI