The Market women of Abak Local Government Area has once again expressed sincere gratitude to ECEWS/Nka Uforo Iban for the dividends of the Market Women Empowerment Project which they have reaped. It could be recalled that in November, 2015, ECEWS in partnership with Nka Uforo Iban via the ECEWS Market Women Empowerment Project disbursed ₦20,000 each to 25 indigent market women in Abak Local Government Area to expand their businesses thus reducing the level of poverty in Abak households.
In March, 2016 (4months after), ECEWS team paid a visit to the Abak Main Market to evaluate how well the recipients of the grants had used the money. The president, Abak Market Women Association, Mrs. Ekarika made herself readily available to take the team round the market. The beneficiaries were overwhelmed with joy as they saw ECEWS team visit the market again.
Madam Affiong Okorie, one of the beneficiaries has this testimony to make about her business; “My market is moving on very fine. I used to sell small fishes but now I have added big fishes, crayfish and melon. My profit has really improved as I now glean profit from different items. I can also take care of my needs well. I thank ECEWS/Nka Uforo Iban for the huge assistance they have given to me.”
Madam Affiong Okorie welcoming ECEWS team to her shade
ECEWS team proceeded to Madam Happiness Antai’s shade. Madam Antai previously sold small fishes in small quantity. She is a widow and paying her children’s fees was never easy. On getting there, we found a filled shop with crayfish added to the fish. She told us; “I started very small but now my business has really grown. I have even added crayfish as you can see. If you had come earlier, you would have seen more things.” That was evident in the large number of bare sticks of fishes whose fishes had been detached and sold. While commenting on her level of profit, Madam Antai said that her profit has increased which has helped her to take care of the children and pay their fees comfortably. She expressed gratitude to ECEWS and Nka Uforo Iban for the benevolence shown to widows like her.
Madam Happiness Antai’s expanded business
Madam Happiness Antai and behind her are the bare sticks of fishes which she had sold
Madam Hannah Francis (Eka Idara) could not hold back her joy when she caught sight of the team. Prior to now, Madam Francis traded on Garri on a small scale (basins) and taking care of her needs was difficult. On visiting her, we met 3 bags of Garri of which she said some had been sold earlier in the day. About her profit, Madam Francis narrated that since she now goes to the market by herself to buy in bulk in contrast to the retail buying she did previously, her profit has increased tremendously and that has helped her to take care of all her needs. She thanked ECEWS and Nka Uforo Iban for coming to her rescue.
Madam Hannah Francis happily explaining to ECEWS team how she has made good use of her grant
Another beneficiary of the project, Madam Bonko Iwok has a beautiful story to tell. Madam Iwok is old and formerly sold palm oil in bottles, her profit was always meagre. When asked how she has made use of her grant to expand her business, she told the team that she used the money to buy palm fruits and now she produces her palm oil to sell. In proof of that, we saw a drum of palm oil in her shade. She confessed that her profit has been massive. She prayed for more blessings on ECEWS and Nka Uforo Iban to enable them do more in empowering poor women.
Madam Bonko Iwok with ECEWS team besides her drum of palm oil
Finally, ECEWS team moved to Madam Eno Jackson’s shade, a seller of Afang leaves. When we met her during the selection process, we found a scanty table. Immediately she saw the team, she was filled with smiles and happiness and started telling her story. “I used to buy Afang leaves in small quantity. My profit too was always small. But when you gave me that money, I used it to buy Afang leaves in big bundles. I have even added palm oil to my business as you can see.” About her profit, she has this to say; “the profit is growing, I get as much as ₦1000 from 25litres of palm oil, ₦500 from a bundle of Afang. I can now save money and also take care of my needs. I thank ECEWS/Nka Uforo Iban for having genuine concern for widows like me to help me expand my business.”
Madam Eno Jackson in her shade with the bundles of Afang Leaves and palm oil