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Escaping Boko Haram


Esther from Nigeria
"It was difficult to forget", Esther told us.

Despite the unimaginable terror she had just witnessed, Esther had no other choice but to run for her life.

The journey led her to Cameroon, where she eventually settled in Minawao camp. Esther managed to escape Nigeria and Boko Haram, but the violence she witnessed that traumatic day would continue to haunt her for years to come.

She explained how she lived with permanent fear:

“I was strange to people. I could not stay with the others, I was always hiding. At times, I found myself shouting because I could remember what happened to my family.

People tried to approach me for help, but it was difficult to forget.”

A new beginning


It took Esther two years to recover from the trauma of that day. She has since married and has children of her own. 

Having once again a shelter - a place to call home - Esther is finally able to start recovering. The support she received helped her to participate in sewing training organised on camp for young women. Whilst participating in the training, Esther also sold food – eventually, she managed to buy her own sewing machine.

Today, I try to have a normal life, especially since I gave birth to my sons. People really helped me, and my husband is also of great support. I thank all of them.

Esther from Nigeria
Esther hopes that her business will be a huge success in the future. “I want to become a famous dressmaker not only here in Minawao. I want to see people wearing my clothes out of the camp and even in my Nigeria”.

Today, Esther is one of the most popular dressmakers on camp. She makes clothes for other women in the camp, as well as for their children.

Her new profession helps her earn some money so that she can feed her family. Most importantly, sewing gives her a purpose. Having her own business gives Esther a way to ease the pain of everything she has been through after losing her family.

It’s very nice. I do like it and I do it with pleasure any time I have a customer. Anytime I see somebody wearing something that I sewed, it makes me happy.

Supporting families in the Lake Chad Basin

The forgotten crisis that is affecting millions

We've been supporting families fleeing Boko Haram violence with shelter and other essential aid items since 2015. So far, over 11,000 families across Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger have received essential aid items. 

Learn more

Stories of survival


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A safe space in Chad

Abdou's family fled when Boko Haram attacked their village. Read his story of recovery.

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After Cyclone Idai washed away Modestar's home, she used the aid items she received to rebuild.