Stories of Change
I now carry out a self-breast examination
My name is Mrs M. Simeon. I am 25 years of age and lives in Godoji Community in Kuje Area Council of Abuja, Nigeria. I have benefited from the LAPO enlightenment campaign on breast cancer and how to carry out a self-breast examination. I lost two of my relatives to breast cancer due to ignorance. I just got to know that my risk of developing breast cancer is high too because of family history. I shall continue with my daily self-breast examination as well as keep all my hospital screening appointments for early detection of any developing cancerous condition. I will disseminate this information to members of my family and women in my community, especially during our women meetings.
I would have died of Breast Cancer
I am Mrs Doris E, a native of Umueze Ezuhu Nguru Community in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State. I am 49 years of age. Before my encounter with the LAPO-C4 intervention project, I noticed a change in the shape and size of my breast which I had neglected due to ignorance about breast cancer. After receiving information on breast cancer and the importance of early detection, I collected the referral form and went for screening at Crown Hospital in Ahiazu Mbaise, which detected an early stage of cancer in my breast. I am very happy it was just developing and had successful surgery in the same hospital. Today, I am healthy and my breasts are completely treated. If not for the enlightenment campaign, I would have eventually developed full-blown breast cancer. Henceforth, I will always go for regular screening and encourage other women to do so. I thank LAPO for saving me from breast cancer through the LAPO-C4 project.
I was ignorant about cancer
My name is Mr T. Mbadi. I am 61 years old and live in Pegi Community in Kuje Area Council, Abuja. I am a retired civil servant and currently a farmer. I have participated in the free prostate cancer screening and impressed with the information on cancer received as l was ignorant about them before the intervention of LAPO. I am now conscious of cancer prevention and live a healthy lifestyle. I have also learnt about breast self-examination which I can also do for my wife. I want the LAPO-C4 project to continue as it is helping a lot of people to know about their health status and how to prevent the deadly disease called cancer.
I commend the free cancer screening
I am Mr A. Eboriku and 73 years of age. I live in Paseli Community in Kuje Area Council, Abuja. I must say I truly like what LAPO and WFI have been doing to prevent cancer. The project is another good step in the right direction. Cancer is a deadly disease but preventable if we practice healthy lifestyles and embrace regular screening for early detection. I have been procrastinating cancer screening and was very excited when this opportunity for free screening came. I have been screened and happy to know that I have no prostate cancer. I intend to continue with regular checkups. The free screening is helpful, please let it continue.
Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle for Cancer Prevention
LAPO joined the international community on February 4th 2017 to mark the World Cancer Day under the global theme “We can. I can.” LAPO and its partners in the campaign against cancer used the occasion to admonish Nigerians to abstain from tobacco and excessive consumption of alcohol while embracing regular physical exercise, adequate nutrition rich in vegetables and fruits and regular medical checkup.
In 2017, 105,494 community members (69,123 M; 36,360 F) were reached with cancer prevention messages through seminars and rallies in major roads, schools and worship centres while over 350,000 persons were reached indirectly through the mass media.
LARDI SUCCESS STORIES
My Progress In Fishery Enabled By LARDI
Echezona Ejike, 39, is a legal practitioner and operates a fish farm at Ekiuwa-Utteh Community, Upper Mission Extension in Benin City.
Barrister Ejike began fish farming business in 2007 in his compound with the sum of N150,000 (USD 413) which he saved from his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) engagement allowance. In his quest for credit facilities to feed the fish in his farm and expand the scope of the business, he joined the LAPO Agricultural and Rural Development Initiative (LARDI) in 2013 and became qualified for his first stage loan of N200,000 (USD 551) after the compulsory pre-loan training. His major challenge before then was difficulty in raising about N18,000 (USD 50) daily to feed 2,500 number of fishes in two concrete ponds in his compound.
With the cumulative financial support of N3,600,000 (USD 9,917) from LARDI, Barr. Ejike has significantly enlarged the size of his fish farm. He has moved into his permanent farmland, which he acquired with the sum of N400,000 (USD 1,102) in 2016, and currently has 10,000 fishes fed with an average of N30,000 daily. His estimated income from sales is between N1.2 (USD 3,306) and N1.8 million (USD 4,951) every other month.
The legal practitioner and farmer have now diversified into fish processing in his determination to maximize his income. He would dry fishes with an oven and package them in packets under the branded name Lolopino, for onward distribution to eateries and hoteliers in the city with each packet of two fishes sold for N1,500 (USD 4).
I Have Been Able To Train My Children
Benson Osahen, a widow, was born in 1950 into a polygamous home and got married to Mr Johnson Iyangbe in 1971. She was denied access to basic education and life-transforming skills due to girl-child discrimination and poverty.
Over the years, she has been involved in menial labour in her determination to generate income to support her family of six children. Her journey in LAPO began in the year 2000 after the death of her husband who was the major breadwinner of the family. She went through the prerequisite pre-loan training and was advanced the sum of N10,000 (USD 26), which she promptly invested in her foodstuff business. She repaid the loan within the stipulated period and was given a second stage loan of N15,000 (USD 41). The business involved buying foodstuffs at a cheaper rate in village markets and selling them at higher prices in the town for more profit. Subsequently, she collected higher loans up to the tune of N100,000 (USD 275) for the growth of her foodstuff business. Madam Osahen later branched into crop farming as well as acquired poultry rearing skills, which is currently one of her sources of income.
In 2003, Madam Osahen accessed an agricultural loan of N200,000 (USD 551) from the LAPO Agricultural and Rural Development Initiative (LARDI) for the roofing of her poultry house. She thereafter collected the sum of N150,000 (USD 413) repeatedly at different times to purchase pullets and chicken feeds. She is currently repaying the N100,000 (USD 275) loan she took in August this year to finance the poultry farm. She is currently rearing about 200 birds, which she hopes to sell between N5,000 (USD 14) and N6,000 (USD 17) each during the forthcoming Christmas season.
Madam Osahen is happy with the support she has received from LAPO over the years, insisting that without her support, it would have been difficult for her to finance her business, feed her family and give her children good education.
In her words: “Support from LAPO contributed immensely to the growth and development of my business. From the proceeds of my foodstuff business and farming, I have been able to train four of my children to the university level with an engineer and a nurse among them.”
LAPO Has Empowered Me
A client of LAPO Microfinance Bank, Mrs Bello Balikis is a widow with five children and highly esteemed in her community.
Before she joined LAPO, she was a timid and withdrawn person who found it difficult to interact freely with others. Her low self-esteem was not unconnected with her poor educational background and discrimination she suffered in the hands of her father who denied her access to western education. In spite of her success in business, Mrs Bello Balikis was still battling with an inferiority complex and could hardly contribute to decision making in the home and society. She was ignorant about her health status and constantly hunted by her low self-esteem until she began her social transformation process in LAPO. Over the years, she has attended several social and health empowerment training programmes organized by Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) for community members and clients.
“When I started attending LAPO training programmes, my self-esteem improved as I began to value myself and relate with others more freely. Health sensitization programmes have also been very helpful. During our branch council meetings, we are screened for HIV, Blood Pressure and Sugar level as well as training on business management.
“I remember increasing my savings after our LAPO teacher educated us about the benefits. With savings, I am now able to meet the needs of my children and family. These programmes are provided free of charge by LAPO across the organization to make clients live healthier and more fulfilled lives. LAPO is really out to empower women and the less privileged in the society. Great LAPO, Great Nation,” she asserted.
Mrs Balikis advised parents to shun all forms of discrimination against the girl child, especially in education and property inheritance, as well as prioritize regular medical check-up.
I Now Keep Environment Clean
Just like many other households in Girinyan community in Kogi State, Mrs. Grace Samuel, a client of LAPO Microfinance Bank,
lacked basic health information and was therefore vulnerable to avoidable diseases. She was ignorant about the nature,
spread and control of HIV/AIDS, malaria, typhoid and other tropical diseases.
Today, the social and health status of her family has taken a positive turn due to constant exposure to the health and gender
empowerment programmes of LAPO NGO.
She has started applying knowledge gained from these workshops by maintaining and cleaning her home and environment,
ensuring proper refuse disposal and providing nutritious diets for her family.
LAPO Has Improved My Health And Social Condition
Mrs. Ijeoma Anyadegwu is among the teeming clients of LAPO Microfinance Bank who also participate actively in the health and social training programmes delivered by LAPO NGO across Nigeria.
As a child, Mrs. Anyadegwu was denied access to university education, skills and other life transforming opportunities as well as affected by socio-cultural problems such as wife battery, exclusion from decision making and low self-esteem.
She believes poverty goes beyond lack of funds to include poor health, low self-esteem, denial of rights, opportunities curtailed and voices silenced and therefore took advantage of the social and health empowerment programmes provided by LAPO NGO to improve her health and social condition.
LAPO Has Empowered Me
An outstanding client of LAPO Microfinance Bank in Keffi, Nasarawa state, Mrs. Glory Chigbu was denied access to university education by her parents who considered money invested on the education of the girl-child a waste of family resources.
She was also not equipped with life-transforming skills and was ignorant about the implication of son preference and societal discrimination against women and the girl-child until she started attending LAPO NGO gender justice and social development programme.
I Have Become More Knowledgeable
Ronke Oginni is a hardworking business woman and client of LAPO Microfinance Bank in Lagos State. She is 55 years of age and hails from Kwara State, Nigeria.
A widow with 3 children, she joined LAPO in 2016 while in search of microloan to develop her business which was stagnant for years due to insufficient operating capital. Success in her business through the support of LAPO Microfinance Bank came with additional benefits, which is exposure to regular health, social development and microbusiness management training.
Madam Oginni is grateful to Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO) for the knowledge gained from the training, which she described as useful. She feels great over the more excellent and profitable way she is running her business, monitoring her income and expenditure and relating with her customers. “The most interesting one for me is stock taking. I will never forget that. Now l have my record books where l record everything l buy and sell. I am now very conscious of my expenses,” she said.
Madam Oginni is very excited about the health awareness programme of LAPO, which she said has improved the health condition of her household: “I receive health tips regularly during our LAPO meetings. I am now aware of the causes and prevention of common diseases like malaria and HIV/AIDS. I have been screened for HIV, blood pressure and sugar level at different times. These are provided free of charge across the organization to make clients live healthier and fulfilled lives.
“I eat well and drink enough water to remain healthy. I keep my environment clean so that l do not spend money treating diseases that I can prevent. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables as I was told that it is good for my health. LAPO has taught us that drug abuse can cause serious sickness like hepatitis so I do not take drugs without prescription any longer,” she noted.
I Am Now Financially Stable
A native of Imo State, Nigeria, Madam Onyinyechie Uzoma is a diligent and hardworking businesswoman and mother of four children. (2boys/2 girls)
She veered into commerce early in life as a petty trader but recorded very limited success over the years due to inadequate capital for business expansion until she became a client of LAPO in 2012.
The first loan she obtained from LAPO for the development of her business was N50, 000 (USD138). She paid back the loan in record time which opened the doors for more loans. With proper utilization of subsequent loans, she was able to expand the scope of her business leading to a corresponding increase in income.
Madam Uzoma has become financially stable. With a steady increase in her income, she supports her family budget and contributes financially to her children’s educational development. Some of her children who were having challenges in school due to funding issues are now fully back in school and doing well as a result of her support.”
Beyond microfinance support, Madam Uzoma has benefitted from several business management training organized by Lift Above Poverty Organisation aimed at boosting the business skills and knowledge of clients across the country. She attests that the training has enhanced her service delivery capacity as well as deepened her relationship with customers.
“My business has taken a new dimension with the knowledge acquired on business record keeping and stock taking, which makes it possible for me to know precisely what and when to purchase goods in the market for sale,” she noted.
Madam Uzoma also attributes her new savings culture to the business management training she has received and does not embark on any purchases without proper budgeting. She is excited and grateful to LAPO for these capacity enhancement training and knowledge.
Madam Uzoma’s new financial status has conferred on her a new social status and recognition in the family cycle. She has regained her voice in the home and consulted when decisions are to be taken. Planning and deciding together with my husband has brought us more progress, unity and peace in the home.
“l look forward to seeing my children graduate from higher institutions and secure good jobs. I will expand my business to generate more income to enable me build a house in Lagos and become a landlady. I have already built a house in the village through the support of LAPO,” she said.
LAPO Has Made Me Health Conscious
Madam Gladys Okwara is a dealer in phone accessories in Lagos state. Born in 1963, she ventured into private business quite early in life but could not record any meaningful progress due to her limited operating capital until LAPO came to her aid year 2008.
The first loan she collected from LAPO for her business development was N15,000 (USD 41 ). With the support of LAPO over the years, her business has witnessed significant improvement with the proceeds channeled into her family upkeep and the education of her children.
Apart from financial support, Madam Gladys Okwara has also benefitted from the health, business management and social development training programme organized regularly by LAPO in target communities across the country.
She said: “LAPO has made me to be health conscious. I have developed the habit of routine medical check-up which l was not doing before the intervention of LAPO. Without good health, wealth is nothing. I really appreciate LAPO for this.
“LAPO has also improved my knowledge on how to manage my business more profitably, keep proper record of stocks, sales, credit and expenditure as well as maintain good relationship with my customers so that they will continue to patronize me. With the help of the micro business training, l have also developed the culture of saving for the future,” she said.
In the area of social skills and development, Madam Gladys Okwara said she was ignorant and timid and therefore found it difficult to relate freely with people. The social development training programme of LAPO has emboldened her to overcome this challenge which she said was not good for her business relationship. “In fact, before l joined LAPO, I was the shy type but with the help of LAPO, I have improved and now I can associate with others freely,” she said.
LAPO Has Empowered Me
Mrs. Rose Nnenna Chino hails from Enugu State, Nigeria and lives in Nasarawa with her family. As a child, she was denied access to Western education and life transforming opportunities as well as affected by primordial socio-cultural practices such as injustice and discrimination against women and the girl-child. This distorted her views about life and culminated into low self-esteem.
However, active participation in the social empowerment training programme of Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO) over the years has restored her self-confidence and built her capacity to challenge prejudices, social norms and traditional barriers deliberately created to undermine the progress of women in the society. “When I started attending the training, my self-esteem increased. I began to value myself and relate with others more freely,” she declares.
Mrs. Chino has also been participating actively in the health intervention programme of LAPO in line with her conviction that poor health can reinforce poverty.
“The health awareness programmes of LAPO have also helped my family a lot. During our branch council and weekly union meetings, we are screened for HIV, Blood Pressure and Sugar level as well as provided information on common health diseases free of charge. These are support services provided by the organization to make clients live healthier and fulfilled lives.
“LAPO is really out to empower women and the less privileged in the society. I really appreciate LAPO for empowering the less privileged in the society. I urge women to embrace LAPO so that they can improve their socio-economic and health conditions,” she said.
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