Like thousands of others, Samadje Doumbia (39), has not been able to grow enough food to be able to feed her family in Mali in West Africa this year.
Due to the lack of rains, the harvest was poor and has now run out. She lives in Bladie, a small village in Kati commune in the south west of the country with her four children. Her husband died, and as custom dictates, she married her husband’s younger brother, but he is not contributing anything to the household.
To make ends meet she grows fruit and vegetables to sell at the market and she picks Nere fruits from the bush and sells the grains.
“This income is not enough but we are surviving,” she explained.
Samadje has always lived a precarious existence. She and her husband had eight children but four of them died. And one of her sons recently suffered from severe malnutrition.
Ramadan is an important time for Samadje and her family but it is the toughest time of the year as food prices keep increasing.
Thankfully, she was one of 9,100 families targeted for an Islamic Relief food distribution.
Those selected included people affected by drought and conflict, widows, orphans, the elderly and the disabled.
In addition to Kati, where Samadje lives, the other targeted areas were Bamako, the capital and Duentza and Gourma Rharous, both affected by conflict.
The teams worked hard to deliver food in dangerous areas in the north of the country, in some places resorting to travel by boat. They also managed to negotiate a good price with the food sellers to be able to reach as many vulnerable families as possible.
The food parcel made a big difference to Samadje and her family and all the other families in their village affected by the food crisis.
“The distribution day was like a feast in my community because the food packs contain special and nutritious food, explained Samadje. “Normally we would only have rice and pasta at Eid, but we were able to eat this throughout Ramadan. We were also able to break our fast with porridge made with sugar.”
The food packs contained 30 kgs of rice, three kgs of sugar, three kgs of spaghetti and two litres of oil.
“I was also able to buy clothes and shoes for the children with the money that I would have otherwise spent on food,” she added. “My children will enjoy their Eid this year.”
Islamic Relief does not just intervene in Samadje’s community at Ramadan. We are building a micro-dam and setting up some land for women to be able to grow vegetables.
“Once completed we will have enough water for our rice farming and vegetable production,” explained Samadje. “And income from this will help us to meet our children’s basic needs.”