Case study (1)

People's Opinions about the Emergency Relief Programme in Niger



ERP Niger Mali Food DistributionSince August 2005, SOS Children has been running an emergency relief programme in Tahoua to assist families who were hard-hit by the severe famine. The first phase of the programme focused on food aid. 120 tons of food were distributed in three lots to 730 families with about 8,000 children. Four women explain what the food distributed means to them and their families.

Mariama, widow, mother of seven children:

If this programme didn't exist, things would have been very difficult for me. My husband died five years ago. Since that time, I have to take care of the children alone. I am responsible for their food, their health and their schooling. Only three of them are still attending school because I cannot afford more without support.

The food I received relieved our distress a lot. Every day, there's enough to eat for my children and me in the morning, at noon and in the evening. I still have supplies of rice and sorghum which can last for at least two months.

This food gave me confidence and the joy of living. You know, usually when people eat well in a house, everybody is happy and positive. This is what is happening to us at the moment. Many thanks to SOS Children for giving us the support we needed in this very difficult period!


Fatima, 15 years old and mother of a little girl:

I am not married and I have a child. This is not accepted in our society. When it happens to you, even your own family rejects you. You don't get any support at all. I have to manage our survival alone. I received bags of rice and sorghum, boxes of milk and jerry cans of oil, as well as drugs for my child who was ill. This helped me more than I can express. I needed it urgently. You can't imagine how helpful the food was for me. Sometimes, the relief team members visited me to check if things are running well with the programme, which comforted me a lot.

Since August, I have monthly rations of food which is sufficient for us. I am very grateful for everything that has been done by the SOS Children's Village here in Tahoua. Unfortunately, I have nothing to offer to them as a sign of gratitude.


Hapsatou, married and mother of six children:

When I heard about foodstuff distributions, I didn't believe it first. I believed it the day I received a bag of 50 kg of rice, a bag of 100 kg of sorghum, a jerry can of oil and boxes of milk.

To tell the truth, it was like a dream and the most important thing was that we had all that food free of charge. I was wondering what was happening when I saw my kitchen with so much food, knowing that I can easily spend at least two days without nothing to eat.

This is the first time we receive so much food from a humanitarian organisation here. How I wish this continued until the food situation is stable again! There is nothing else I can say, I am so happy. 


Alimatou, grandmother of four boys:

When my daughter died, nobody wanted to take care of her four children because she was unmarried. I was obliged to take them with me. Now that I'm getting old, it becomes more and more difficult for me to take care of them. In fact, I cannot deal with the situation any more.

The food I received helped me a lot because it provided us with regular support. My grandsons can have their cups of milk in the morning, and eat normally at midday and in the evening. I infinitely thank those who had the idea to distribute food to us for free, we really need it. I pray that this programme will assist us as long as we are alive, because we always have problems here in Tahoua.  


For privacy reasons, we have changed the names of the women.


Our charity has worked in The Gambia since 1981. We run two SOS Children's Villages in the country, caring for orphaned and abandoned children.