World Humanitarian Day: ‘No one paid attention to my cries’

This World Humanitarian Day, 8-year-old Sadia shares her tribute to World Vision humanitarian staff in Niger and how the team helped her grandmother.

This World Humanitarian Day, see through 8-year-old Sadia’s eyes as she shares her tribute to World Vision humanitarian staff in Niger.

One day while waiting in the heat for food, her grandmother fainted. Scared and ignored, Sadia saw the World Vision team pushing through the crowd to help. This is Sadia’s story.

*     *     *

Fidele Nindaginye — World Vision’s child protection specialist in emergencies — met with 8-year-old Sadia from Ngagala community in Niger. She shares her tribute for the life-changing work of World Vision’s response staff dealing with the Lake Chad Basin crisis. Below are her words.

One day, I was crying alone amidst a crowd of adults. They did not pay any heed to my cries.

I had accompanied my grandmother to receive food from a humanitarian organization, which did not distribute on that day.

Under the scorching sun and heat, after having waited for long hours with no food to eat, my grandmother suddenly fainted. The crowd, mostly women, immediately surrounded her inanimate body, pouring water all over her but refusing to give her anything, even the precious liquid that could save her from the dizziness. There was no thought as to what to do next apart from pouring water all over my grandmother. I could not understand and started crying.

My grandmother and I had got up very early in the morning at 5 a.m. and walked for about eight kilometers [about 5 miles] from our home to receive food in Ngagala. The last food we had received was one month ago, and we were hopeful to replenish our stock. But now, I was standing here, looking helplessly at my dying grandmother on the ground. No one paid attention to my cries. Instead, I was brutally pushed behind by onlookers, obstructing me from seeing my grandmother. They could not understand that I was afraid of losing the only person who has been taking care of me since my parents were killed by insurgents.

The crowd around my grandmother and my cries alerted the World Vision team who were selecting animators to support setting up Child-Friendly Spaces at the Ngagala site. The team stopped its work and rushed to the scene.

Through my tears, I saw a movement. The World Vision team was making its way through the crowd and transporting my grandmother. One of them told me gently that they were rushing her to the nearest health center to save her life, and I had to come too. Hearing this soothed my concern and anger over the situation. But I became more anxious when I remembered that the nearest hospital was in N’guigmi — 12 kilometers [about 7½ miles] from Ngagala. I wondered if we would reach there in time. [Rural communities often don’t have available or reliable transportation. The team provided car transport.]

This World Humanitarian Day, 8-year-old Sadia shares her tribute to World Vision humanitarian staff in Niger and how the team helped her grandmother.
The World Vision field team works in remote areas, which are often difficult to access in order to deliver life-saving support and programs. (©World Vision/Marie Paule Koona)

Luckily, the team made it. On arrival at the N’guigmi health center, my grandmother Goumsou was immediately attended to and received emergency medical treatment. The World Vision team also provided her with some fresh food and drinks because it was clear that she needed to regain her energy. After several hours of medical examination and good care, my grandmother was released by the health officials, and the World Vision team brought us back to our house.

I was very happy to see my grandmother on her feet again. We arrived at our home, and although we had nothing to offer, we were very thankful. My grandmother could not stop bestowing blessings on World Vision’s staff for having assisted us in a special manner that day. We are really grateful to have such dedicated humanitarian workers in our community.

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Ngagala community in Niger is host to many refugees and displaced families who have been affected by the ongoing crisis in neighboring Nigeria. Although there are currently three classrooms in the village, all are overcrowded. Many children are still out of school. The community lacks social services and livelihoods for those in need.

Marie Koona is World Vision’s communication manager for our Lake Chad Response.

World Vision is responding in Niger to provide vital child protection, water, sanitation, food assistance, and more. Support our Africa hunger crisis response here.

You can also choose a child to sponsor in Niger and provide ongoing support to a child, family, and community.

This post was originally published by World Vision International.


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