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news | May 30, 2018 | Nigeria | Emergency

A safe haven for displaced Nigerian families: Khadija's story

An estimated 2,300 displaced households live in Custom House camp, MMC/Jere LGA, ACTED Nigeria, 2018

26-year old Khadija, her husband Jabar and their young family of four kids have recently arrived to Custom House camp 1, located in Jere LGA. They had to flee the village where they used to live in Dikwa LGA, after armed insurgents came to their villages and threatened the inhabitants. Like many other families, their life was harshly impacted by the eight-year-long conflict in North-Eastern Nigeria. “We were too afraid that, if we stayed, that we would be shot dead or beaten. We knew we had to run for our lives and especially to protect our children’s,” explains Khadija. Like most families from their village, they left in a hurry, in the middle of the night, taking nothing but their children with them in search for a safer place.

“We trekked all the way until we arrived here, it took two full days as one night passed on the road and then it was nighttime again when we arrived here,” says Jabar. When they first arrived, the family was living in the school building in the camp, where most newly arrived people stay, but it was tough with no basic items at hand and not enough space. “We were sharing the space with many other families, it was very crowded and did not always feel safe,” says Khadija. Thanks to the emergency shelter kit provided by ShelterBox and ACTED, containing tarpaulins, timber, rope, nails etc., the couple was able to build their own shelter, where they now live with their children.

“Now we have our own space as a family, and we are able to have some privacy, unlike before,” explains Khadija. With the support of ACTED and ShelterBox, the family also received a kit containing essential non-food items (NFIs). “The cooking pots and jerrycans for the water are very helpful, before we received these, it was challenging to prepare food and collect water,” appreciates Khadija. She and her husband are also relieved that their children are no longer forced to stay in the sun during the day like they used to do since the overcrowded building did not provide enough space for all. “We feel it is safer and more comfortable for our children to be in this shelter, we are also using the mosquito net that was part of the kit to protect them from mosquitos at night so that hopefully they do not get sick,” explain the couple. “Most issues we faced when we first arrived have been solved or alleviated” thanks to the e-shelter kit and essential non-food items they received, they say. However, they are missing their village and hope to one day return to the land they were farming before they had to flee.