First Person: Learn a recipe for freedom in Nigeria |


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When my family found out I was pregnant, they told me to go live with the father of my unborn baby, but instead of going there, I started sleeping in an empty building, where I started selling water bags in order to survive.

When my family found out, they threatened to rape me, and because I had no options, I went to live with him. He beat me so badly that I got in and out of the hospital emergency room, and nearly lost my unborn son.

One day he poured a corrosive chemical on me, burning my legs; Then he ran away with my son. It took two months to heal. At first, his father allowed me to live in his house, then my mother, the only member of my family who supported me, took me.

The father of the attacker also helped the police find and arrest him, and thanks to him, my son was returned to me. It was during this time that I was introduced to a culinary arts course.



United Nations Development Program Nigeria

Blessing Ojukwu and other women who have suffered at the hands of abusers have learned new skills in their livelihoods program.

I had such a keen interest in cooking for so long that I even get paid to cook for people from time to time. However, I really only knew Nigerian dishes, and during the course, I learned how to cook a wide range of cuisines from all over the world, including cakes, pastries, appetizers and desserts.

In addition to the new recipes I learned, I also learned about catering and photography, and I can now take beautiful pictures of the meals I prepare for sale, which helps me advertise on WhatsApp, and attract more customers.

Since my graduation, I have started building a client base, and with the little money I earn, I can take care of myself and my son. I am looking forward to growing and I hope one day to open a world class restaurant and pastry shop in Abuja.

So, if any sexual assault and sexual assault survivor reads this, I would encourage them to speak out: This is how you get help. If I didn’t speak up, I wouldn’t have this great opportunity to learn new skills. Now I have a second chance. ”



United Nations Development Program Nigeria

Naama Ojukwu (left) learned how to cook pastries and other foods in a UN-backed initiative.


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