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Matida: Raped, pregnant and forced to flee her home

At just 15, Matida was raped and fell pregnant. Then Boko Haram fighters attacked her village, forcing her family to flee.

Learn more about the Lake Chad crisisMatida* was 15 years old when she was drugged and raped by a local boy. She fell pregnant but her rapist refused to accept responsibility and his actions went unpunished. She still sees him in the community from time-to-time.

Forced to drop out of secondary school, Matida was left on her own to look after her baby son, Ishaya*.

Homes and livelihoods left behind

Sadly, worse was to come. Boko Haram fighters attacked their village in Borno State in North East Nigeria the following year, forcing Matida and her mother to flee and leave all their food, belongings and source of income behind.

The militants had burnt down all the houses and taken everything, including all the goods that her mother used to trade for an income.

When they returned to their village a few months later they found that everything was gone. The militants had burnt down all the houses and taken everything, including all the goods that her mother used to trade for an income.

Without any means of supporting themselves, Matida and her family were facing destitution until Plan International stepped in to provide her with livelihood support. Working in partnership with the German Federation Foreign Office (GFFO), we are helping young people in the Lake Chad region get back on their feet by equipping them with the skills and tools they need to earn a living.

Vocational training helps families start again

We are training young people in vocational skills such as cap making, tailoring, catering and confectionery making, and provided them with start-up packs so they are able to set up small businesses.

Matida, now 17, decided to learn catering skills and received baking equipping which enabled her to start to make bean cakes, a popular Nigerian snack made from black-eyed beans.

“I make bean cakes daily for sale and I make a profit of about N800 (£2) every day which I use to buy medicine for my son when he is ill,” she says.

Matida would like to return to school one day and hopes to expand her business to pay her school fees, but for now, she is just happy that she is able to look after her 12-month-old son and mother who has become too weak to work.

Learn more about the Lake Chad Crisis

Millions of children have borne the brunt of the conflict in North East Nigeria. Violent attacks by Boko Haram, together with counter-insurgency measures, have been taking place since 2009 in the Lake Chad region and have intensified since 2013.

Over 17 million people in the three countries of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon have now been affected. More than 2.3 million people have been forced from their homes, half of whom are children.

Learn more about the Lake Chad Crisis