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Thursday 24 May 2012

ShareNiger : A tale of two women

Ramata (38) lives in the Tera region of Niger with her husband Bouriema (50). She has two children of her own, Amadou (22) and Fatima (17) and an adopted daughter Mariama (10).
Ramarta is part of the women’s gardening group that was started by her mother Zeinaba (76) back in 2005.

Ramata #ShareNiger
Ramata (38) from the gardening project in Tera
Zeinaba had noticed that the harvests were getting worse so called together a group of women and suggested starting a gardening group. Together they went to see the local mayor to ask for some land, he agreed and they formalised the group with a certificate.
In the last seven years the gardening group has blossomed. Ramarta has a beautiful home, decorated with the plates and bowls that she collects. Her children are educated and because of her had work in her garden she hasn’t been affected by this food crisis at all.

Ramata home #ShareNiger
Ramata outside her immaculate home
Ramarta grows cabbages, aubergines, tomatoes, rice and Moringa trees on her plot and she’s recently been able to buy some livestock with the money she has made selling her crops. Thanks to her, her family is totally self-sufficient. 

Across the village is Roukayatou (36) she lives with her five children Amadou (16), Hama Amadou, (12), Aissatou (11), Hamsatou (8) and Bousraou (5) and her brothers 13 month old daughter Fadima.

Roukayatou at home #ShareNiger
Roukayatou (36) and her family are profoundly affected by the food crisis
Roukayatou and her family are profoundly affected by the food crisis. Hearing her speak about her situation is heartbreaking. 
Her husband Hama (45) left months ago to work in the gold mine and she hasn’t heard from him since.

Roukayatou says: "I’m really worried, as I’ve not heard from my husband since he left six months ago. He has gone to work in the gold mine during the dry season every year since we got married. He always sends back money. This year I’ve heard nothing from him."

Roukayatou is also a member of the gardening club but following an accident she was unable to make it to her plot to tend to her crops and they failed. She has no food and no money and she doesn’t know what to do.

Roukayatou and her children #ShareNiger
Roukayatou and some of her children
There’s no work in her village so her only option is to pack up her family and move to the city but if she did that she would have to pull her children out of school. She doesn’t want to do this but she really doesn’t have any other option.
Roukayatou and her family are currently surviving on the four small bags of cereal supplied by the World Health Organisation to feed her 13-month nephew.

That’s seven people sharing the food for one baby. Time is running out for Roukayatou.

The only toy I have seen in Africa
You can help the people of Niger get through this food crisis and continue to live their lives by helping us spread the #ShareNiger tag on Twitter. We need governments and aid agencies to step in now before it;s too late for women like Roukayatou.

For more information on the crisis in Niger and how you can help, please visit

Thank you to Mirka for awarding this post her Blog Post of the month. I really appreciate it.

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