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Odogwe’s Story

Odogwe is a mother of three children currently living in Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria. Her husband died 4 years ago after being sick for three months. This was a fatal day that forever changed her livelihood. After being sick for 3 months, he died in the hospital and the family accused Odogwe for his death. Having no way to defend herself, she was at the mercy of her in-laws and stepchildren.

Odogwe’s husband was a widower, whom had 4 children from his late wife, including the eldest male son. Before the husband’s death, the husband, the children, the youngest stepchild, and herself were all living together in a 7-room home built by her husband. This had been Odogwe’s home for the past 7 years but she and her children were about to be displaced.

Due to traditional practices, Odogwe was confined in a room for 1 year before the burial of her late husband. During this time she faced verbal abused, customary practices of mourning, lack of food for her and the children, and her home was overtaken by the eldest stepson. Without Odogwe’s consent, the senior stepson came from Lagos, removed Odogwe and her children from the entire house a single room and began renting all of rooms of the house. The eldest stepson collects all the financial income for these rooms and when trying to regain ownership, there was no validity of support from the family and there continues to be none.

Not only did Odogwe loose her home, she also lost her means of income. Before her husband’s death, they co-operated a beverage store. This was an additional family property, separate from the house, which is now under the control of the eldest stepson. The shop was rented, as Odogwe was not allowed to work during her 1 year of mourning and she has not been to gain possession since.

Receiving no support from her family or husband’s family, Odogwe still suffers from the memories of abandonment and betrayal. Her children are attending Secondary Public School and University State School. She has gained employment at Faith Academy, Asaba, where she works as a cook earning N 20,000 ($123) /month. Odogwe is unsatisfied with this job and desires to resume in the selling of drink cartoons, an occupation that will provide a greater level of income and freedom. Financial limitations and maintaining the ability to provide for her children prevents her from being able to restart the business.

Odogwe believes with a loan of N50,000 ($307) she will be able to begin a small-scale business while maintaining her job at the school. In this case, she will store drinks within her home and distribute after work. If she were to switch full-time selling of drink cartoons (which she ultimately desires), she will need N250-300,000 ($1,537-$1845) in order to pay store rent (rent in paid on yearly basis in Nigeria) and complete a stock for selling. With Odogwe previous experience, she believes she has the necessary skills to be successful and desires the advancement of her family’s livelihood.

If you would like to support Odogwe and provide sponsorship through a monthly or one-time donation(s), please contact The Refuge Foundation (TRF) via: phone: +16024817540 (USA) or +2347025019943 (Nigeria), email: CalidanEmeraldFoundation@gmail.com or visit our website and click on the donation tab at therefugefoundation.com. Calidan Emerald Foundation (CEF) is the operating branch of TRF in Nigeria. TRF is a registered 501(c)3 in the USA and all donations are tax deductable.

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Remembering the story of this incredible women! To find out more…visit therefugefoundation.com #womensempowerment #therefugefoundation #calidanemeraldfoundation #widowhood #nigeria #africa