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21 March 2024 - News


Fatuma holds some of the shoes she sells at her shop in the town center. Photo Courtesy|Dorothy Waweru, Save the Children

By Dorothy Waweru

The unforgiving El Nino rains left destruction in many parts of the country. However, parts of Wajir County bore the brunt of the raging waters that left many families displaced and homeless. Fatuma Hassan is one of the women who lost all her household items including utensils, beddings and other valuables to the floods.

“When the rains came, I lost most of my household items to the floodwaters. But I feel lucky to be alive as the floods also claimed human lives,” says Fatuma.

As if the carrying away of Fatuma’s household items was not enough, the floods also destroyed her toilet, and she says that nowadays she has to go to her neighbour’s home to relieve herself. We meet Fatuma in her house doing some cleaning. Her infectious laughter brightens the day. Fatuma, a widow and a mother of ten children narrates to us how her life and that of her children was shattered by the floods. They were left with almost nothing and they had to rely on well-wishers for survival.

As a result, Fatuma resorted to taking loans to be able to fend for her children, as she had no one to turn to for help. A new dawn came into Fatuma’s life and that of her children when Save the Children through the USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance identified and enrolled her as one of the 3,192 participants of the cash transfer program.

Mohamendnur Ali, Food Security & Livelihoods Officer having a conversation with Fatuma outside her home. Photo Courtesy|Dorothy Waweru, Save the Children

“Each participant under the cash transfer program was receiving Ksh. 13,210 for seven months beginning June 2023. When the floods came, the money from the cash transfer is what many of the households like Fatuma’s used to bounce back from the effects of El Nino.” says Mohamednur, Food Security & Livelihoods Officer, Save the Children.

Fatuma says that the money she received was a lifeline for her and her family. Using the money, she repaid all her debts, repainted her house, which had been damaged by the floodwaters and even opened a shop where she sells shoes and clothes. It is evident from Fatuma’s smile that life has taken a different turn in the right direction.

“Using the money, I get from my business; I have managed to pay school fees for all my children who are all in school. I have also bought them clothes and ensured that they lack nothing," says Fatuma.

Fatuma is grateful that she received support at the time it was needed the most and that even if the effects of the floods are still evident in her home, she has a cause to smile because of a second chance at life for herself and her children.

As we leave Fatuma’s home, she offers to show us her shop and some of the shoes and clothes she sells. Fatuma’s business of selling shoes is a good venture for sustainable livelihood as she says that from the sale of shoes and clothes, she has managed to buy other utensils to replace those that were swept away by the floods.

Fatuma hopes that all her children will get quality education and become great people in society who can help others who are in need because they too were helped when they had lost all hope. She desires to provide the best life for her children to see them thrive and reach their fullest potential.

Save the Children has been providing humanitarian assistance through the Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) funded by USAID. Among the interventions provided, include cash transfers, nutrition, water sanitation and hygiene, and child protection services.