Human Interest Story

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Location: Biu Local Government Area

Shatu Musa’s dream to have an education seemed farfetched, thousands of her community members have died or have been displaced as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency. Shatu is a 17 year old girl living with a vulnerable grandmother after her mother and father got divorced. She is the head of their household as her grandmother is not able to support the family.

Through the help of a community member who trained her on how to weave and make handbags she was able to make a daily wage which she used to support her family. As the insurgents continued to threaten life and property in and around Shatu’s community, she decided to join the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in her community. In her own words, she said joining the CJTF in my community was: “to provide my support to protect the lives and properties from further destruction from Boko Haram”.

After the disengagement of children associated with armed groups (including CJTF) by UNICEF in her community, Shatu was enrolled into Neem Foundation’s Reintegration and Rehabilitation project. She has undergone four months of mental health and psychosocial support aimed at addressing psychological distress, building positive coping skills and enhancing resilience. Shatu has also been enrolled into a livelihood support component of the programme to teach her tailoring skills (chosen by herself) as it is her dream to become a fashion designer. Today, Shatu is happy that learning tailoring skills is a step toward actualizing her dream of becoming a fashion designer, her social interaction with others has significantly improved and she advocates among her peers for peaceful coexistence with other people within her community. In her words she says “Nagode wa kungiyar Neem Foundation / Unicef Kun taimaka wa rayiwata”. Translated as “Thank you Neem Foundation / Unicef, my dream is coming true”.