Mother – Fatuma, 28
Father – Awol, 40
Children: Saliya (15), Hindi (12), Kedija (10), Murshida (7), Kuzema (5), Firdosi (3), Yaya (3 months)
Married to Awol at 13, Fatuma never had the chance to finish school. Now 28 and the mother of eight children, she finally got access to the skills, tools and training she needs to earn a living.
"I have learned about horticulture and beekeeping," says Fatuma, pointing to a garden of growing vegetables in a plot of land behind her home. Participating in a local microfinance group, she now has a way to save money and pool funds with other members for joint lending, borrowing and investing so that each of them can use their skills and talents to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
Father – Sherif, 34
Mother – Yesriba, 26
Children: Mustefa (15), Muslima (13), Ahimed (9), Umer (7), Wazira (6) and Sumeya (2)
Yesriba and Sherif live with their six children on a remote farmstead without access to running water, electricity, transportation or machinery. Getting by has been difficult, but with some training and support from Plan, this family has managed to improve its farm and its fortune over the last six months.
"We have increased our crop production and income and can now support ourselves through the dry season while paying for books, tuition and uniforms so our children can go to school," says Yesriba with a smile.
Father – Nasir, 38
Mother – Zumera, 32
Children: Asrar (14), Mariya(10) and Nesriya (3)
"We have seen so many changes in our lives," says Nasir, gesturing toward his crops and smiling at his wife Zumera, who is now the leader of a Village Savings & Loan group.
"Most importantly," he explains, "our children are in school, even our littlest daughter Nesriya, thanks to new classrooms and a new focus on education as one of the most important things we can do as a community."
"We never got the chance to go to school ourselves," says Zumera, "but our children will. And that will make all the difference."
Mother – Kenzi, 36
Father – Awol, 40
Children: Sultan (17), Rehima (14), Roza (11), Seyida (9), Riyada (6), Alamudin (3) and Riyad (1)
"Since Plan started working here, we've got new classrooms for our children, microfinance groups, and training in various areas of development," says Kenzi.
Her husband Awol adds: "We have been involved in learning about agriculture and farming, beekeeping, how to save and invest, how to improve hygiene and sanitation. And we're working together with our neighbours to improve life for everyone. All of the families here contributed to the building of classrooms in our village, for instance, either through money, materials or labour."
Father – Zakir, 40
Mother – Keyiru, 35
Children: Zara (18), Neima (15), Hawi (13), Rozi (8), Kalid (6), Nasridi (3) and Imado (1)
"Things have changed a lot for the better," says Keyiru, "but access to clean water is still a big problem for us. My eldest daughter Zara or I must go a long distance every day to fetch water for our family. It takes hours and when I can't go, she misses school."
Thanks to your support, new wells and water pumps are in the works for ten central locations that will give families like Keyiru's easier access to clean water and girls like Zara a chance to stay in school.
Father – Miftahu, 40
Mother – Zeneba, 36
Children: Ferida (11), Muaz (9) and Rabiya (6)
Zeneba and Miftahu are impressed by the changes they have seen for children since Plan started working with their community.
"Classrooms were built, computers and solar were provided to the schools," says Miftahu. "Little children now go to school regardless of their age, including our daughter Rabiya."
Zeneba nods her head, then adds, "Our sanitation and hygiene practices have improved, the community is more aware of child care and protection. For children, it has been a big change. They are healthier, happier, and better cared for, and more are in school."
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