Fatima, a widow with four children, spends her days in Lagos, Nigeria caring for her family under extremely challenging circumstances.
In 2006 Fatima was involved in a tragic automobile accident leaving her with several broken bones and the complete loss of one leg. In one moment, she recalled, she felt she had lost everything.
“When my husband died a few years earlier, we had become very poor. I had no one to turn to and my people could not help me because they were also poor. A friend of my husband loaned me money to start trading in food items.”
Shortly after receiving the loan, Fatima moved her entire family into a one-room shed in a suburb of Lagos where other poor and homeless families lived. “For us that was better than nothing,” she said. Fatima soon joined the other women where she lived in buying and selling fruits and vegetables purchased from village farmers.
On that fateful 2006 evening, Fatima and a group of women boarded a local lorry (van) to return to their shelters. “We were driving back from the market when our lorry turned sharply to avoid something in the road and instead collided head-on with another lorry. I only heard a loud noise. I knew we had tumbled and I thought I had died.”
Three days later Fatima woke up in the hospital in severe pain. She had been in and out of a coma and could not recognize or remember her children. ”But by the grace of God,” she recounted, “I was still alive.”
Fatima was one of only two survivors of the tragic crash that ultimately took the lives of twenty-seven people. In the hospital for six months, in unbearable pain and now without her left leg or her children, her future seemed bleak. Thankfully, upon her release from the hospital, she reunited with her four children but because of Fatima’s condition the family was now left destitute and homeless again.
One day soon after her release, Fatima came across some information about OWIN and its work with Gold Crest Family Center and immediately took her children to Gold Crest in search of help. At Gold Crest Family Center, Fatima and her children were welcomed and given shelter. Through OWIN’s support of the Gold Crest Family Center, Fatima and her family moved into a livable apartment and have established an entrepreneurial business selling hand -made crafts. OWIN and Gold Crest have helped cover all of Fatima’s medical bills as well as school fees for her children.
Today Fatima and her children are making great strides towards a more stable and secure future. Her story like many others is why the Asomugha Foundation works tirelessly to empower vulnerable populations.
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Fatima (right) shares her story to widows at the Gold Crest Center as Mrs. Chukwurah (left), Gold Crest President, praises her courage.