One day, when they were on the run with her captors, Cameroonian soldiers managed to catch them.
“The soldiers sent the men to prison, and I was taken to the Minawao refugee camp,” says Fati.
This was in October 2015, or more than 13 months after she was abducted by Boko Haram.
In Minawao camp, Fati was placed in a foster family, and is seen daily by UNICEF-supported social workers, employed by ALDEPA, a local NGO.
“They visit me all the time, and encourage me in my life at the camp,” she says. They also provide clothes when she needs them during the cold season, and through UNICEF, her foster family is given food supplies and kitchen items.
Then one day, thanks to a camp resident from her village, and with support from UNICEF partner Aldepa, Fati was able to connect with her mother Mariam, and spoke with her on mobile phone. A few days later, they were reunited in Camp Minawao.
Fati carries her younger sister, who was only a baby when she saw her last. They seem inseparable, and as soon as Fati puts her down, her sister starts to cry. Fati’s mom Mariam is eager to take Fati back home.
“The rest of the children are there without me,” says Mariam. And they are all alone.