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“We are going through tough times”

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Several economically challenged women, mostly single parents dwelling in some of Montserrado County’s slum communities see global charity organization Oxfam’s cash transfer of U$109 to each of them as a great relief, considering the tough times they are going through, particularly in this coronavirus crisis.

Working with local groups Community Healthcare Initiative (CHI) and West Point Women for Health and Development Organization, Oxfam, through mobile money transfer, gave US$109 each to 300 slum dwellers in West Point, Pipeline, Peace Island, Chicken Soup Factory, King Gray, and Logan Town to enable beneficiaries get their unmet needs.

Many of these women did not own phones, neither sim cards prior to Oxfam’s Catastrophe “CAT’’ Fund Project,’ which means Oxfam first had to provide phones and sim cards for those that didn’t have to enable them to receive their US$109 each via mobile money transfer.

Felecia Sayee, a resident of PHP Community says the US$109 from Oxfam Liberia brought so much joy to her because she and her four children went out of everything due to the lockdown imposed to control the spread of coronavirus.

“And I say Oxfam thank you for coming to my rescue, and it shouldn’t be the end because we are the mothers with children. Oh, my dear, it’s hard to say. Don’t look at the clothes but look at what in the clothes. We’re going through tough time,” she said in an interview with journalists in West Point Saturday, 11 July.

After receiving the money, Ms. Sayee explains that she used it to buy lot of essential materials to do business, including cooking pot, bag of flour, sugar and bucket of butter to prepare cookies for sale. Prior to Oxfam’s intervention, Ms. Sayee says no one could extend help to her during the lockdown, so it surprised her when she received US$109.00 without working for it.

“Can you imagine? So I was so excited to the extent that I was in the rain dancing,” she says, noting that her celebration led others to think that this may have been her first time handling such amount of money.

Earlier in an interview with Pipeline Community resident Madam Bone Kortee in King Gray Community, a single parent said this US$109 cash donation brought relief and great help to her and her eight children.

“My landlady was about to give me notice and it made me to pay my house rent. I bought food for my children, and I am able to get my washing hand bucket, soap, everything. So I thank Jehovah so much for CHI and Oxfam,” she says.

“I was thinking about myself because I was washing people’s clothes, I was going to cook for people before I get food. But to get food for this crisis here the people were not allowing me to get around them to do their work. So I was just sitting down, I [didn’t] know where to go start it from,” she concludes.

According to Madam Kortee, she had five children of her own, but she took in three additional children left by her late sister who died in a car accident, making the number of children eight. Several other women were interviewed and had expressed appreciation to Oxfam and its partners for the timely intervention.

Shah Liton, Oxfam Country Director says the project is targeting 300 most vulnerable households particularly women and girls to enhance them and their families have access to basic food needs and none food items to overcome the impact of Covid -19 crisis, and thereby protecting them from exposure to COVID-19 and overcome protection risks.

Over a period of two months, Mrs. Naomi Tulay – Solanke, Community Healthcare Initiative (CHI) Executive Director says through the project supported by Oxfam, they have actively engaged the slum – urban communities that are crowded with low income families that live in poverty, working with people whose livelihood was affected by Covid.

She notes that most of the women they worked with are single mothers, some of whom had long history of sexual – based violence, abuse, struggle and marginalization.

Following Oxfam’s engagement with her group to implement the project to help 300 women, Mrs. Solanke says they saw cash transfer to beneficiaries as the most effective way that they could respond. “It’s an actual amount, 109 United States Dollars was transferred to these women’s mobile phones, individuals’ accounts,” she says.

Nelly S. Cooper, Director for West Point Women for Health and Development Organization says her group reached out to 150 women through the project funded by Oxfam, giving phones and US$109.00 to beneficiaries.

“And they were encouraged to have their own mobile money account, so right now, you know, they are empowered,” she notes.

By Winston W. Parley

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