Fatima Garba Mohammed has always been passionate about helping others. While growing up in a large family amidst the shores of Azare in Katagum Local Government Area of Nigeria’s Bauchi State, she interacted with people of diverse backgrounds and social statuses who made her realise how a simple act of kindness can transform lives.
“While growing up, I had watched closely how my late father [was] a compassionate giver who would go out of his way to cater to others. I had seen days when he would sacrifice food meant for his feeding so he could give to others. Education and Medical support were his top priorities, and he would give his last currency to support those in need,” Garba said.
The escalating poverty in her community, coupled with her firsthand observation of thousands of people struggling to afford even a basic meal, not to mention education and other life necessities, catalysed Garba’s involvement in humanitarian efforts.
In 2018, alongside her mother and sister, Garba embarked on a mission to make a difference by founding the Gadi Care Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to enhancing the lives of underprivileged individuals in Bauchi and other regions of northeastern Nigeria.
Upon graduating from Bauchi State University Gadau in 2019 with a degree in Biology Education, Garba assumed a leadership role within the foundation. Under her guidance, the organisation spearheaded emergency relief efforts during times of crisis, organised food distribution drives, and provided essential items to enhance the quality of life for the less fortunate in Katagum.
Keeping Children Warm in Harmattan
Over the years, the foundation has been carrying out a project that focuses on providing less-privileged children with clothes and cardigans during the Harmattan season.
“We believe it’s important to provide the children with the necessary support regarding clothing. It also feels sad to learn that when the weather is colder, you will find children roaming around without proper clothing, and that is detrimental to their health because it exposes them to not only cold but also lots of dust, which can lead to issues like pneumonia and fever,” Garba explained to Prime Progress.
The Harmattan clothing project is impacting the lives of children in Katagum by providing them with clothes and making them feel loved and cared for like other privileged children out there.
Initially, the project was carried out within Azare, but it was later expanded to other Local Government Areas in Bauchi, including Jama’are and Shira.
The foundation relies on donations from the general public to effectively implement its project. Before it reaches out to the vulnerable, the foundation puts out a public notice seeking donations of neatly used clothes and cardigans from people from different states.
“Our activities were carried out through self-funding and donations from foundation members, family, and friends,” Garba recounted.
Musa Abdullahi said with the foundation’s help, he was able to stay warm through the Harmattan season in 2022.
Another beneficiary, Habibu Isa, said: “I’m very excited to have received a head warmer and cardigan from the foundation. They are so beautiful and warm.”
While Maryam Abubakar admitted that before the intervention, one of her children had been suffering from flu and cough due to lack of proper clothing, which sometimes even stopped him from going to school.
“We appreciate their efforts for providing our children with clothes, and it has helped them stay warm during Harmattan,” Abubakar added.
The foundation’s work is limited by inadequate funding and a lack of partnerships and collaborations to sustain its projects.
“We struggle with mobility. The lack of vehicles to aid our work is a challenge, and we will also need to have a standard office where we can continue operating formally,” Garba confessed.
Despite the challenges, Garba is not relenting, and she pledged to continue providing services that will better her community.