Defending the widow – supporting the child

by ACT

  • Posted on March 16, 2018

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Lives transformed … Modupe and her daughter Alice

Like many women, Modupe had looked forward to being a mother after her marriage to Andrew in Ipaja, Nigeria. Being an only child, the idea of having a large family appealed very much to her.

For Modupe, accomplishing her dream of motherhood was not as easy as she had hoped. As years went by it became a heart wrenching struggle for her and Andrew. Hopes raised very quickly came to nothing on five separate occasions through failed pregnancies.  Her hopes for the beautiful babies in her womb were cut short well before they could take their first breaths. It began to feel like a hell note for Modupe.

Then suddenly they started coming. First a girl, Maria and three years later a boy, Timothy, quickly followed by another girl, Pedetin and then Alice the following year. Modupe was now a mother of four, her dream of having a large family had come to be.

Coming from very poor families, both Modupe and her husband were uneducated, but she had hopes for her children and as soon as they were old enough, she sent them to school. From very early her youngest child Alice started demonstrating a knack for learning and also wanted to go to school. Surely she would grow up to be a doctor or maybe a lawyer or perhaps a teacher? Whatever, both Modupe and Andrew had hope of a brighter future for their little child. Then disaster struck.

Alice pictured last year

It began when Timothy, the second child took ill. He was 6 years old.  They took him from one hospital to another, spending the little money they had on his medication. Andrew worked as a labourer on minimum wage and Modupe was at home looking after their four little children. Very quickly the money ran out and unable to afford hospital costs, they resorted to cheaper native medication. The stress became unbearable for Andrew. He fell ill and passed away.  Modupe’s burden multiplied – widowed (no husband), unemployed, a very sick child and three other children to care for. Alice her youngest child was 4 years old.

Modupe had no one to turn to for help. Her parents had long since died and her husband’s family were nowhere to be found. She sold her few belongings and started cooking and selling on the street to earn a living. The struggle to keep her son alive used up her meagre earnings. Unable to pay their school fees, her other children dropped out of school.

Alice attended primary school but there was no money for her to go further. She kept pressing her mother to let her go to secondary school. Her mother became aware of ACT partner, ICL and turned to them for help. They supported her application for ACT sponsorship and Alice was selected. This started the turnaround for the family.  Alice was able to go to secondary school and will finish this year. She will sit university entrance exams in June and ACT has already paid the exam fees. Meanwhile, Modupe also benefited personally from ACT support.  She was among the first group of women to attend the ACT Women’s business empowerment training and counselling course for widows which will help her build up her small business and generate income in a sustainable way.

After nearly 20 years of hardship and sorrows, things are looking up for Modupe and her family.

To find out more about how you can help other families like Modupe and her child Alice, click here here

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