Azara Zakaria is a widow from the Boakodo community in the West Mamprusi District.
“My husband passed away some 10 years ago and left behind 11 children. Nine of the children who were in school had dropped out since I was not able to cater even for their feeding let alone their school needs. I used to weep most of the times because I wanted to get my children have a better future than I did but how could I do so? Then one day, I was informed that there were some visitors in our community to discuss their intention to support the processing of shea nuts and butter. I remember saying to my son who brought the news that, “ba zaa magmi”, meaning they are all liars. I thought so because I have heard of similar stories that ended up not benefitting us. But after a few months, the visitors returned to buy nuts and they bought all the nuts that were available by our group.
I was amazed that they came back and actually bought all the nuts as promised. Before this time, one could carry one bag of nuts to the market for two conservative weeks, just selling in bits to feed the family. With the new experience I had seen an opportunity some others did not have. It was therefore an opportunity to make use of my large family in picking more nuts to make more money. In the very first year I picked nuts with the support of my children throughout the season and at the time of sale, I had up to 10 bags of nuts.
Everything was bought and paid up for and when I received the money, tears fell out of my eyes. I can’t remember exactly but I collected over GHC 500 that day. The next day, I re-enrolled seven of my younger children back into the community school (three girls and four boys) with the money. The other four were too grown and made a choice not to go back to school so I decided to concentrate on the younger ones. Currently, my first daughter is in Junior high school whilst the rest are in the primary school.
I have single-handedly taken care of them from then till now and I cannot thank this project adequately for the support I have had from it. All I do now is pick enough nuts to sell and cater for my children without having to worry about markets, my children also support when they are on vacation from school. I am just praying that our relationship with SSL will continue so we can educate our children to one day take us completely out of poverty.”