There was something special about Hadiza, something that’s not easily found in most people. As a little girl, she was enrolled in a program for HIV patients after her both parents were confirmed positive. She was given the necessary treatment to help her stay strong and healthy. But as time went on, her parents started defaulting on their treatments, and unfortunately, she lost her parents, forcing her to stay with her uncle. Fast forward to when Hadiza was 13 years old, through follow up by the USAID funded ACE-4 technical team, she was enrolled in an OTZ program. In the program, she was taught about the importance of adherence to treatments. She learned how to manage herself and her appointments. Hadiza had a resilient spirit and her determination to maintain her health was remarkable.

But life wasn’t easy for Hadiza. Her uncle’s wife, a stern and bitter woman, seemed to harbor a deep disdain for her. She would often hurl hurtful words at Hadiza, making her feel small and insignificant, leaving her stigmatized. The words that cut the deepest were, “That sickness that killed your parents will soon kill you too.” Those cruel words echoed in her mind, causing her heart to ache. To make matters worse, her uncle’s daughter, who was not even Hadiza’s age, started to mimic her mother’s hurtful words.

A group of women standing together in front of a blue door Description automatically generatedDays went by and Hadiza’s anger and resentment grew. The pent-up emotions finally erupted, and she found herself in a heated fight with her uncle’s daughter. The altercation escalated, and in the end, Hadiza was asked to leave the house. With tears streaming down her face, she packed a small bag filled with her dreams and aspirations and walked out into the unknown. Hadiza’s uncle had been caught in the middle of a bitter conflict between his wife and Hadiza. His wife, filled with jealousy and resentment, had given him an ultimatum – his family or Hadiza. It was a choice he never wanted to make, but in the end, he had no other option. With a heavy heart, he had sent Hadiza away, believing it was for her own safety and well-being.

Text Box: Hadiza and her case manager with OVC partnersFortunately, Our USAID funded ACE-4 supported facility (Umar Musa Ya’adua Memorial Hospital (UMYMH), Sabon wuse, had a team of experts who were trained and funded by USAID’s ACE-4 program. Their expertise in counseling and support gave Hadiza the strength she needed to face her circumstances head-on. With their guidance, she began to rebuild her life, piece by piece. During one of their counseling sessions, Hadiza revealed that her late mother had a close friend, someone who had always been there for her. Her case manager, fueled by the desire to help Hadiza find solace and support, encouraged her to reach out to her late mum’s friend. Perhaps she could provide the love and understanding that Hadiza desperately needed.

On the 12th of May, the team set out on a mission that would forever change Hadiza. With hearts filled with hope, we approached a community school alongside our dedicated OVC partners. As we stepped inside the school, a sense of anticipation filled the air. We had heard of Hadiza’s story and how she yearned for an education that seemed out of her reach. The discussions with the school management were intense, as we passionately conveyed the importance of providing opportunities to children like Hadiza. After what felt like an eternity, the moment finally arrived. The proprietor, a kind-hearted man with a gentle smile, looked at Hadiza and made a decision that brought tears to our eyes. He announced that she would be exempted from paying school fees and buying schoolbooks. Hadiza’s eyes widened with disbelief, as if she couldn’t fathom the doors that were opening before her. But it didn’t end there. As if touched by Hadiza’s plight, the proprietor summoned memories of his own childhood. He too had once been an orphan, yearning for a chance at education. Hadiza reminded him of the struggles he had once faced, and with a determination fueled by empathy, he decided to go one step further. In a single act of kindness, the proprietor presented Hadiza with a brand-new school uniform. It was a symbol of hope, a tangible reminder that dreams can indeed come true. The raw emotion Text Box: “One day, I hope to become an ART nurse to help people and use my tailoring skills to support orphans like me.” - Hadiza etched on Hadiza’s face mirrored the gratitude that filled our hearts, for this was more than a simple act of charity—it was a connection that surpassed the boundaries of time and circumstance. But the surprises didn’t stop there. Our dedicated USAID funded ACE-4 technical team, who had been overseeing the facility, knew that Hadiza needed more than just the essentials for her education. In a display of unwavering support, they gifted her a school bag and a pair of sandals. These seemingly small gestures carried with them the weight of a thousand possibilities, symbolizing the belief we had in Hadiza’s potential.

As Hadiza pondered about her future, she stumbled upon a small tailor shop in the heart of the town. The rhythmic sound of sewing machines and the vibrant colors of fabric caught her attention. Hadiza mustered up the courage to approach the CEO of the tailoring school. She expressed her deep desire to learn the craft, willing to do anything to make her dream a reality. To her surprise, the CEO listened attentively, seeing the fire that burned within Hadiza’s soul. The CEO informed Hadiza that the enrollment fee for the tailoring school was a hefty sum of 30,000. Although it seemed unattainable for a young orphan like herself, the CEO, moved by Hadiza’s determination, decided to waive a major portion of the fee. She encouraged Hadiza to pay whatever amount she could afford, knowing that every little contribution mattered. Our team together with the facility staff raised the token Hadiza needed to start her passion in tailoring.

Hadiza aspired to become an “ART nurse” – a tailor who will not only create beautiful garments but also used her skills to support other orphans like herself.

Alleviating the burden of hunger.
It wasn’t an overnight transformation, but slowly and steadily, Ramota began to heal. She met with our trained counselors on the USAID funded ACE-4 project who gave her hope and a renewed sense of purpose. She was no longer alone in her fight, and she began to believe in herself once again. A few months later, Ramota returned to the healthcare facility for a check-up, and the results were shocking. Her viral load had decreased to an astonishingly low level of 184 cp/ml from a worrisome count of 77,800cp/ml.
Her hard work had paid off, and she was finally winning the battle against depression. Ramota’s story is one of resilience, hope, and the power of community. Through it all, she never gave up, and with the help of her sister and the healthcare professionals through support from the USAID funded CCCRN ACE-4 project, she was able to turn her life around. She is now a beacon of inspiration for others who are struggling with similar issues, and her story serves as a reminder that there is always hope, even in the darkest moments.

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