Personal Stories

Our Hearts Weren’t Ready For How Emotional These Market Women’s Stories Would Be


“Since my husband died, I haven’t bothered myself about being unnecessarily fashionable, I’m always looking for money to take care of my kids. I can’t take out of that to have my hair done. Who’s admiring me? There is nobody looking at me” Dorcas Odeyemi said.

Dorcas is one of the beneficiaries of Laila Cadne’s MMA NMA’s project. Laila is a makeup artist and MMA NMA tells the stories of five market women, who seem to have forgotten how beautiful they used to look before the struggle for survival, for them and their families.

These women have been doing their businesses for over 10 years and they have been through many challenges. From witnessing the government demolish their stores, to sitting under the rain and sun, calling out to customers to buy from them and urging them to pay more than they are bargaining, it is no wonder they aren’t bothered about their looks.

For Dorcas, who started the business of selling eggs in 1992, since her husband died in 2003, she never bothered to look good. She is trying to source for money for her daughter, who had good grades in her WAEC but is not able to go to school because of the funds.

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“Everybody likes enjoyment. Enjoyment is good… but is it when you have barely eaten that you will have the zeal to dress up?” one of the women said, while another noted how long she had dressed nicely even for an outing.

Thanking Laila for the initiative, Dorcas said the last time she braided her hair was in 2003.

Talking about the project, Laila tweeted,

Okay.. let me tell you about this project.. it’s called “mma nma” (beauty of a mother), before I got a name for it, This passion project has been on my mind as far back as when My team and I won the Fayrouz L’originale competition in 2014…

In April it was time to give birth to this idea. its entirety is surrounded by women who work tirelessly day in day out, Sunday to Sunday to provide, cater, make time out to teach, protect their kids and protect their family interests.  “Mma Nma,” a short documentary sheds light on the lives of 5 market women, and the complete beauty makeover they undergo.

Watch them talk here.


See the before and after photos below






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  1. Pingback: Young Women Share Their Experiences Of Sexual Harassment In Market Places As They Prepare For A Market March At Yaba – Woman.NG

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