Standing with Hamisu

For one CARE staffer, a teenager becomes the face of urgent need in Nigeria

“My father has not come back, because he had nothing to bring home. My mother was crying in the corner; her breast was empty, she could not feed the little brother and the baby was crying. My father returned with nothing in his hands. That day, I knew we would not eat for awhile.”


T hose are the words of Hamisu, 18. He and his family have fled the insurgency in Nigeria — along with about 1.6 million other people who have left their homes and farms, their schools and communities. As the mother of a teenager myself, Hamisu’s story touches me deeply. And

as I walk away from him, hardly holding back my tears, I promise myself I will do everything I can to amplify his cry for help. I have worked for CARE for 14 years, helping lead its emergency response work around the world, in places like Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria,

where I sit now, writing, attempting to put in words the extraordinary scope of need here. As I wipe the dust and sweat from my face after a day in the field, I hope to give you, CARE supporters and readers of this magazine, a glimpse into the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding here.