February 28, 2021

From street to street, Violet is feeding poor families during lockdown

Violet locates a group of homeless women and children in an uncompleted building near Govt House, Jos

Central Nigeria: “Nothing I have is truly mine,” said Violent Adama Kaburuk Nyelong, a young mother of three, based in Jos, the capital of Plateau State.

She runs a small business store in the city, but currently earns nothing from it due to social restrictions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Nevertheless, as she puts it, her heart keeps beating for those who “cannot sleep being sure of where their next meal will come from.”

Last week, Violet, without being told, drove to slum markets to find out how poor women sustained by petty trading survive in lockdown. She was literally broken hearing the story of an aged widow who makes less than N200 (less than 50 US cents) a day from selling vegetables, but was no longer able to sell due to government restrictions.

Violet tearfully bought off the poor trader’s stock for the day, nearly 10 times more than the original cost, but gave it back for her to take home and feed her children.

Violet (right) weeps for a helpless widow

She went on to find more women like the poor widow, and destitute children who cannot afford daily meals, giving them financial aid to buy food before the now relaxed lockdown resumed. Within two days, Violet had literally emptied her bank account supplying food and financial aid to over 80 helpless poor.

But that was not enough. As the State relaxed the last lockdown on Thursday for another three days to “restock”, Violet, still worried that many families might not have anything to buy food with, before the lockdown break, now extended by a day is over, she has literally been driving round town, with a stock of food and other household essentials in the trunk of her car, searching and donating to poor families who cannot afford.

Violet carries food in a trunk to help the poor

Within three hours on Sunday, Violet reached about 20 remotely located households in Jos, donating in cash and kind. Yet, she insisted, “I don’t want pictures.”

“Whatever I do is an extension of what God has done for me and wants me to do for others; and I see nothing special about it. In fact it is embarrassing to record,” she said.

Violet is only supported by her husband. She owns a nongovernmental organization that works to help existing and potential drug addicts recover. But the NGO launched in March 2020 hasn’t any external funding yet. Even if it does, Violet’s donations are not within the primary goals of the NGO, though in part, a way to prevent depression, a major cause of drug dependence.

She, on Sunday, however, donated cash to a drug rehabilitation home battling financial shortages. Memoirs of Recovery, a nonprofit nongovernmental organization in Rock Haven, Jos, offering noncommercial psychotherapy to repentant drug addicts is one of few she has supported.

Violet offered to help from time to time, but seems to be more intoxicated with the idea of supporting helpless women and children to overcome their pressing psychological need – food, to prevent the temptation to take to drugs for escape, thus posing threats to societal peace.