A Central Nigerian family, Saturday shared foodstuffs to 120 poor widows in Jos, the capital of Plateau State, to help them cope with the State’s four-day lockdown starting Sunday midnight.
The State had gone on a week’s lockdown which ended last Wednesday.
During the lockdown, many households that live on daily earnings had revenue cuts, as businesses were forced to shutdown.
Low income widows particularly had difficulties getting food for their households, and could not have saved enough within the three-day break before the next lockdown, said Ruth Kirnan Ngupar, the founder of family funded Biplang Development Foundation.
From personal savings, Ruth and her siblings, all raised by a widow, bought grains, detergents and cooking oil and shared to “the poorest” widows – 50 from Rock Haven, 50 from Tudun Wada and 20 from Jenta Adamu communities in the nicknamed Tin City.
“We are not doing this to be remembered, we are doing this because we know the pain of widowhood and orphanhood and we just cannot turn a blind eye in these difficult times,” Kirnan said.
It is the sixth of the NGO’s humanitarian outreaches, but to Mrs. Maryamu Yusufu, 75, it is the biggest favour at a time “all seemed hopeless.”
Maryamu lost her husband four years ago and has only a son who is out of job.
He just started tricycle transport business when the coronavirus pandemic started.
He has yet to pay for the tricycle which he got through hire purchase, to have saved for family welfare before the last lockdown.
“We were completely hopeless and helpless when I was called to get thus donation,” said tearful Maryamu.
Almost like Maryamu, Mrs. Talatu Chidawa, 78, a widow for 20 years has been battling stroke for over 10 years.
Her three children alive, out of previously ten, all have been switching jobs and can barely provide for their families.
Life during the lockdown was a “nightmare,” she said.
“My children often go out to do menial jobs and get paid before we could feed in a day. But during the lockdown, none of them had anything coming and were just living in misery,” she said.
Private individuals providing for less privileged families during global business shutdown is rare but touchy, said Rev. Samuel Akusuk of ECWA Church Rock Haven.
The Ngypar siblings, mainly civil servants, Rev. Akusuk said have not just saved lives but sown into eternity.
They are “a good example of service to God and humanity,” said Rev Joshua Aku of ECWA Goodnews Tudun Wada.
Hunger and malnutrition are said to kill nine million people every year.
A third of reproductive-age women are anaemic, while 39% of the world’s adults are overweight or obese and each year around 20 million babies are born underweight, says the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF).
With donations like the Ngupar siblings’, these figures might decline, solving the world’s leading cause of diseases.