Sexual health and parenting support for displaced mother of 11

Mother of 11, Aisha, has learned about her sexual and reproductive health, developed a positive relationship with her children and has started earning an income thanks to Plan International’s projects in her camp for internally displaced persons.

Mother

Aisha with her children.

Aisha is a mother of 11 children living in a camp for internally displaced people in Borno State. The camp is home to more than a thousand families who fled violence from various parts of the state for relative safety in Maiduguri.

Five years ago, she and her family lived and farmed in a mountainous community in Monguno, bordering Chad. They farmed beans, maize, onions and pepper for a living. Due to the incessant attacks by insurgents on the village and other surrounding communities, they fled.

Adapting to camp life

Now, they live at a makeshift shelter made with grass and survive under hard conditions. Despite the challenging condition of camp life, Aisha now has 11 children. “I fled my community with 8 children, but when I came into the camp, I gave birth to 3 more,” said Aisha.

I learned a lot about family planning. How to access it, where to access it, and when to access it. I was never in support of it before.

Plan International began a protection and health project at the camp in July 2021, in partnership with Rehabilitation, Empowerment for Better Health Initiative. The project is supported by caseworkers, community volunteers, women’s groups, community-based child protection committee members and peer group educators who were trained on gender-based violence, protection and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Aisha came into contact with Plan International through community volunteers when she was pregnant with her 11th child. She immediately started to attend the safe space activities organised by Plan International, where she has picked up vital family planning information and access to relevant products.

Family planning support

“We usually meet with other women and Plan International staff dedicate their time to teach us a lot,” she said. “I learned a lot about family planning, how to access it, where to access it, and when to access it. I was never in support of it before.”

Aisha said, “Before now, we were told that family planning is very harmful, and it was a deliberate way to stop women from giving birth completely.”

Since joining Plan International’s safe space activities, Aisha has been accessing sexual and reproductive health services. “I am just coming from the health facility where I was referred to that Plan International is supporting with contraceptives,” she said.

Positive parenting

Aisha has also changed her relationship with her children as a result of her involvement in the project. “I used to be hot-tempered and I beat up my children mercilessly when they did something wrong, but through positive parenting sessions I began to draw my children close. We even eat together. I am now closer to my children, especially the girls so that in case they are harassed or abused, they won’t feel scared of telling us,” she declared.

Aisha is also being supported by Plan International to generate an income, and she has received cap making materials and tools. She has also received a dignity kit, along with other women in the camp.

“I am currently into the cap knitting business and happy that it is helping me generate an income to support my family.”

Early childhood development, Emergencies, Sexual and reproductive health and rights, Skills and work, Child protection in emergencies, Parenting, Sexual and reproductive health services