Rose Ibrahim Boyi is 33 years old and the mother of four sons and a daughter. She joined Women for Women International’s program in Plateau State after being displaced from her community due to violent conflict.
“Before the crises we were living happily in our community, co-existing with our neighbors peacefully…with respect and dignity for one another, free of fear and intimidation,” Rose says about her life before violence tore her community apart.
Rose’s husband was a successful farmer and Rose used to grow food and find firewood. The couple had big plans for their children, but their dreams were shattered when crisis engulfed their community in 2015.
Rose and her family had heard of conflicts arising from misunderstandings between farmers and herdsmen in neighboring villages, but suddenly people from their own village began to disappear. Every day Rose heard of two or three people that had gone missing from her village. After a few days, their bodies would be discovered in the bushes and no one knew who had killed them. There was a lot of hate and fear during that time. Rose could hear gun shots in the afternoons.
One Sunday when Rose and her family were on their way to church, a tragedy turned her life upside down.
Rose had just had her last baby and needed extra time to pack clothes and other things for the baby to take with her. The church was very far away and by the time Rose got to the bus, it was already full. At first, Rose was going to go home and skip church but then a friend offered to drive his motorbike with her and the baby on the back, so she wouldn’t have to miss the service. Rose’s husband wanted the baby to be safe, so he gave his seat on the bus to Rose and the baby and he rode on the back of the bike.
With the sudden disappearance of persons in the community, the roads had become very dangerous and traveling to the church, a perilous journey. On the road, the church-goers were ambushed, and Rose’s husband was separated from the bus. The people on the bus were safe, but Rose’s husband was not. He was killed by the attackers.
“I saw my husband dying. It was very painful. After that, I could not stand it. Almost everyone was leaving the village, so I left with my family.”
Though Rose and her family are safe now, life has become much more difficult. As a displaced person, Rose does not have land in her new community and cannot grow food. Before leaving, Rose was given a small plot of land to farm in her home community. Because of security threats, she was afraid to travel back, however because she did not have enough money to feed her children, she had to make that journey for her family.
Rose has not given up and continues to persevere to build a better life for her family. Through Women for Women International’s program she has had the chance to learn how to raise poultry and earn an income. She also receives a monthly stipend that she invests in her business. Determined to rebuild, Rose also joined a savings group through the organization, so she would be able to get a loan from her group and expand her business.
“Women for Women International’s program has greatly impacted me. It has helped me manage my stress. The experiences I had really traumatized me, but this program has given me hope to forge ahead and move on with life. I am excited that the program is putting smiles on my face and that of other women like me,” Rose says.