By Amoma Mofe Terah, Communication and Advocacy Officer/Community Engagement and Accountability Focal Point NRCS

"I am determined and work this hard because I play both the role of a father and mother to my three children. I want their future to be better than mine, and the aid given to me by the Red Cross is enabling me to achieve this goal."

‘I was in huge debt before the Red Cross aid came along. I had only made half payment for the shop space, and I usually buy the foodstuff I use in cooking on credit to pay back after each day's sale. Sometimes I am not able to pay but when the Red Cross gave me 61,000 naira in cash 2 years ago, I quickly paid off what was left of the shop rent and paid for the wares I bought on credit. I also invested some of the money into buying more wares to cook meals and sell. You won't believe it that I also bought Christmas clothes for my children from the money. Right now, thanks to the Red Cross, I am debt-free, and I pay cash for all the wares I buy to cook the food I sell. ’

As a hardworking, determined, and devoted single mother of three children, Victoria James's journey could be best described as jam mixed with sand. It’s been a rough journey that has seen her spit out the sand after savouring the sweet taste of jam. Having just relocated from Auchi, Nigeria, without her husband, who left her when their twins were only two months old, she lived in an uncompleted building in Galadimawa, a community prone to flooding in Nigeria's capital, Abuja.

washing plate

Her sister, who invited her to Abuja, gave her some money, which she used to buy wrappers for sale, but this business didn't do well so she quit. When she heard that a particular shop owner was looking to sell for 30,000, naira, Victoria who didn't have the money upfront, pleaded with the owner to allow her to pay in two installments.

‘This was how i began buying on credit to pay back after each day's sale. I cook both rice and soup. After a while, I was able to gather half of the money for the shop rent while caring for my children all alone. It was obvious that we were living from hand to mouth. Life was very difficult. It seemed as though I was working for others. ’

However, tragedy struck as the uncompleted building she was living in with her children in Galadimawa Community, collapsed. Victoria almost suffered a stroke, She was lucky as the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) visited the community to identify and assist the most vulnerable people affected by flood with cash. With this support, Victoria was able to pay off all her debt to the vendor she buys foodstuffs for her business, complete the payments for her shop, buy essential ingredients for her business, and even purchase Christmas clothes for her children.

Today, just like her name, Victoria is now a winner. Though she still lives with her twins in her sister's house in Kabusa, she runs her food business with joy and confidence, knowing that she is no longer burdened by debt and that her children are well taken care of. Her eldest child is in secondary school and learning a skill.

Tidying her shop

Thanks to the timely support of the NRCS, Victoria can now focus on growing her business and providing a bright future for her family. Victoria's story is a testament to the fact that a little support can go a long way in boosting the powers of strong will to succeed in the face of obstacles, even flooding.

Her resilience is an inspiration to continue to show kindness to humanity and create a world where everyone has the opportunity to overcome challenges, thrive and build a better life for themselves and their loved ones.

The project was supported by the British Red Cross, BRC.

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