Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation. Its 150+ million people makes up almost a fifth of the continent. Though it is one of the world’s top oil producing countries, over 90 million Nigerians live in extreme poverty. Institutions at every level of the country are renowned for corruption, rendering the benefit of the oil wealth nearly nil for the country’s most vulnerable people.
The poverty of slums within Lagos, the country’s largest city, is beyond comprehension: hundreds of thousands of the city’s poorest people are jammed into tiny rooms without water or sewage systems. Water from intense seasonal rains and the tides of the nearby ocean bay flood the slums leaving dirty water filled with sewage and rubbish to surround even homes and schools, exposing children to bacterial disease and malaria.
At 3.6%, the adult HIV-prevalence rate is low compared to countries in southern Africa. But due to Nigeria’s large population, it ranks as the country with the third largest number of people living with HIV in the world.
Hands at Work began operating in Nigeria in 2006 and works in 5 communities in the country’s south, including the hyper-urban slums of Lagos and the rural villages outside the city of Ibadan.
Long-term volunteer, Tommy Malster from the UK, recently visited some of these communities. We have uploaded a few of his photos to give you a glimpse of what daily life amongst Nigeria's poorest looks like:
"This is the pond where three orphaned siblings, Mary, Celina and Abigail from Elekuru, have to get their drinking water. It doesn't really look clean, but it's all they have--they live in such a rural community."
"Here Mary, Celina and Abigail are pictured with Hands at Work field coordinator, Bayo, outside their home. Mary's arm was badly burnt by the people she was staying with before.""This is a shot of Badia. It shows the level of rubbish and poverty the community's people have to live in. We had to walk on the planks of wood because the rubbish was filled with water and so many diseases. We were constantly walking past brothels, shops and also children with no clothes on because they simply cannot afford any.""This is a school in Badia. We [Hands at Work] have enrolled 50 vulnerable children at the school, mixed in with the government school kids. Here we are meeting some of the volunteer teachers who are with the community-based organisation (CBO) [supported by Hands at Work]. I am greeting Matilda, a teacher."
"When we visited the school, the playground had been flooded and so the kids had the option of either playing in the water or having to stay in the classroom."