When Latifa was only 15 years of age, her parents sold her into marriage to a man twice her age. She was taken away from her rural home and brought to a neighbouring city to live with him, and her new husband and his family.
Her new home was a small room in a brick one in the slums of the city. On a nearly daily basis, Latifa was beaten by her husband who often forced her to have sex with him whenever he wanted. Withing weeks she became pregnant, putting her young life in jeopardy. Thankfully, she survived her pregnancy and gave birth a baby girl nine months later.
Within two months, she was on her own.
Her husband abandoned her, and infant daughter, forcing them both to live on the streets, and get from the stall owners in the local market. For the next two months, she barely survived. Finally, someone took pity on her. A local woman called Happy took her, and her daughter, into her home to live with her family.
Happy introduced her to a community facilitator from Plan International Ireland who had previously helped Happy set up a stall in the local market. Latifa joined a Village Savings and Loans Association with other vulnerable women in the community. They saved money, and eventually she was able to take out a loan to set up her own stall on the marketing.
Latifa’s survived thanks to the kindness of Happy and Plan International’s support.