Food Voucher Assistance in Nigeria

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In a single day, Hajja Zara's world was turned upside down. 

"My village was a peaceful place. But one night, we were awakened by the deafening roar of fighter jets overhead, which triggered panic and confusion throughout the entire community. The serenity was shattered by the thunderous explosions that swept through the air, leaving a trail of destruction."


woman cooking in Nigeria

Hajja Zara prepares a delicious meal for her daughter and visiting family members.

Photo by Dorathy Okaba/CRS


During the attack, Hajja’s house in Borno State, Nigeria, was destroyed, and her legs badly injured. She was overwhelmed by the destruction that surrounded her. Fortunately, her two-year-old daughter was unharmed.

"I saw the once bustling marketplace now lying in ruins and homes reduced to rubble. I was deeply saddened by the violence that had befallen my community. I struggled to make sense of this tragedy," she says.

In the aftermath, Hajja and her fellow villagers were left reeling from the loss of lives, livelihoods and any sense of security.

After spending seven months receiving treatment at Maiduguri General Hospital, Hajja Zara found herself without a place to call home. She relied on the kindness of others for shelter and sustenance. Upon her return to Kaga from Maiduguri, she stayed with a relative until received a temporary shelter from the International Organization for Migration.  

“The memory of the fighter jets and the havoc they caused in my community continues to haunt me every day, leaving emotional scars that serve as a constant reminder of the pain I endured. The experience of that day really cost me a lot of loss,” Hajja says.

It was during this time that she encountered a registration team from Catholic Relief Services, who selected her to be part of the Improved ALERTS emergency food assistance distribution. After the registration, Hajja was given a food voucher which she uses to redeem food items for her household.

With the support of CRS and others, she was able to overcome the challenges she faced. Hajja now looks forward to a brighter future for herself and her daughter. She says that although the path ahead may be difficult, she feels confident that she is not alone in her journey. She is grateful to have survived that day and, most importantly, that her child was unharmed.

“While the scar of the past lingers in my heart, I am determined to rebuild my life, thanks to the support of CRS that came to me in my time of need. Their assistance has given me a renewed sense of hope and security. I am also grateful to God for protecting my child on that,” says Hajja.