Hafizou Akilou is profoundly deaf. The vocational training group provided him with the opportunity to learn how to sew. | © J. Labeur / HI
In 2022, HI ran 75 projects on economic inclusion, particularly in Niger and Madagascar.
Most economic-inclusion projects aim to lift households out of extreme poverty or boost communities’ resilience to food insecurity. These projects therefore have a major effect on the life of the population and especially on those who are often left behind, such as young people, people with disabilities and migrants. In Niger, however, more than 10 million people (41.8% of the population) were living in extreme poverty in 20211. Furthermore, according to the United Nations, nearly 3 million people could be facing severe acute food insecurity2 in the country by the summer of 2023. Economic-inclusion projects are therefore even more vital in a country such as Niger where all the indicators are at red.
I believe in them because I serve humanity. These economic-inclusion projects allow me to help improve the living conditions of some vulnerable population groups – people with disabilities in particular. And it is this change in people’s lives that motivates me the most.
I met Fayçal in 2019 when HI was recruiting the first group of people with disabilities for vocational training. Fayçal, who was 17 at the time, was a young man who was deaf and who had just dropped out of secondary education because of various barriers, particularly communication barriers. He decided to enrol for the training course and opted for sewing, dedicating himself to it with a great deal of courage. After six months’ training, Fayçal was noted for his talent and his determination to become a good tailor. At the end of his two years’ training, HI helped him open a workshop equipped with a sewing machine and an embroidery machine. When Fayçal is now asked what he thinks, he says: “this training course changed my life and finally allowed me to have a profession; I am doing well and I can stay in touch with people.” I’m very proud of him, and his story has stayed with me ever since.