Shukurat’s Lagos and coping under Lockdown

by ACT

We live in an estate with several hundreds of other families. Each family has a 1 or 2 room apartment. We share the bathroom and kitchen spaces. We don’t have tap water. One of us children has to go out to fetch water for us. Often there is along cue to fetch water, but sometimes there is no water”.


Sitting in their one room apartment, Shukurat Sanusi is waiting in hope for the all-clear from government to return to school, so that she can re-start her senior school certificate exams. She hopes to pass and go to university. Shukurat has shared her experience of living in Ipaja and how she and her family are negotiating the hardships of the lockdown with the help of ACT.

Shukurat lives in the Ayobo-Ipaja district of Lagos State. Ipaja is one of the poorest districts in Lagos — West Africa’s largest city. It is dominated by the Abesan Low Cost Housing Estate where she lives with her mother and siblings. The estate is a constant reminder of the struggles faced by the thousands of people living within its walls — the crammed rooms, shared toilet, no electricity, no water. That’s just the way it is.

Shukurat is 16 and the eldest of 3 children of her parents. She was barely six years old when her father died in a tragic car accident. His loss left the family devastated. Her mother is a teacher in a state school, but her income is very low which put the family in severe financial strain. Desperate and struggling to look after her three children, she was introduced to ACT through our partner Community Link Ipaja (CDLI) and the family began to receive support. Her school fees were paid and ACT made funds available to buy school uniforms, school shoes and other school needs. They also receive support with food and provisions for the family.

Along with school’s shutdown, the Saturday supplementary classes that CDLI organised for ACT children has stopped due to the lockdown.  She missed the Saturday classes which gave her space to do her home homework without the distraction of her younger siblings at home.  She also missed her friends, as they used to meet up to share their different experiences.

The lockdown has been hard. Shortly before then, she had written the university Joint Matriculation (JAMB) examination for admission into higher institutions of learning and passed. She was also preparing for the Senior School Certificate exams (WAEC/NECO) when they went into lockdown. The examination has been postponed. Shukurat miss being at school. Government home-schooling is hard when most teaching is carried out on TV and radio. But as they suffer power outages for days on end, access is impossible. Shukurat can’t wait for the pandemic to come to an end.

With schools closed, her mother has lost her income. ACT has helped to breach the gap by providing supported families with food parcels distributed by DCLI. It was difficult to buy food because shops were closed and street markets were banned because of the coronavirus.

Shukurat is determined to make a success of her life. She wants to go back to school and complete her exams.  She had hoped to go to university this September, but at the moment she just has to wait.

ACT is for the children otherwise forgotten

With your support we can help many more children like Shukurat to reach their potential in life. There are many children requiring a sponsor. Please consider sponsoring a child with ACT or make a donation to help us, particularly during this difficult time? Your help means a lot to us. Please click here.

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