Nse Sunday lives in Uyi Effiom area of Anantigha, a suburb in Calabar Municipal Local Government Area of Cross River State. She became saddled with the responsibility of being sole provider for her six children, as well as her late sister’s three children, after her husband left them. Making ends meet was challenging and her petty trade of buying Water Leaves and Pumpkin Leaves from farmers and reselling helped her provide her household with just one meal daily, and her children were in and out of school. A support system would have helped her, but she could not build one while going about her daily activities the way she had to.
Her household was enrolled into Health Initiatives for Safety and Stability in Africa-Local OVC Partners in Nigeria (HIFASS-LOPIN 3) in 2015, a project funded by the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through United States Agency for International Development (USAID); and in 2016, during routine Household Testing and Counselling, she was confirmed reactive. She was referred immediately to the nearest health facility for treatment, by the Civil Society Organization (CSO) manning her locality – Rhemacare Integrated Development Service – escorted by a Community Volunteer (CV).
She received a seed grant to boost her business in the same year and leased four plots of land where she now grows her own vegetable. In addition, she has received training in proper nutrition, adherence counselling, food demonstration for People Living with HIV as well as financial literacy education. She is now a member of a Savings and Internal Lending Community (SILC) for caregivers in her community, where members are encouraged to save and borrow funds to boost their businesses and attends Caregivers Forum meetings regularly.
The Caregivers Forum has helped her tremendously as a support group, as she can get relevant information and encouragement easily. Her younger children attend kids’ club meetings and her adolescent girls attend the Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) meetings, where they are given information on prevention and relevant skills in a fun-filled atmosphere.
Her nine dependants have become consistent in school and can now have three meals daily. She has moved her household from their previous residence to a better house and has opened a bank account where she saves money, aside from the funds she saves in her SILC group. She said “apart from the savings group, the project has helped me open an account with UBA where I can save my money. This project has helped me O-O-O”. She gladly said to a staff of Rhemacare at the Caregivers Forum “Aunty Ima, I have bought myself a phone…” and offered her phone number.
This is a clear example of how strength can be found in vulnerability. Proper case management helped move Nse adhere to treatment and become a role model to other Caregivers empowered by HIFASS-LOPIN 3 in the local community of Uyi Effiong.
LOPIN 3-SUCCESS STORY