Rahane Lawal
Frontline Polio Worker

Life has been difficult after when I went through, but I will not allow what happened to deter me from the work I am doing. I am ready to do what I can to make my community free from childhood killer diseases. But at the same time, I appeal to the government to beef up security in my area, arrest all the kidnappers and bring them to justice

Rahane Lawal is a polio worker in Nigeria who has shown exceptional bravery and dedication in keeping her community safe from polio, leading efforts to eradicate the disease despite being kidnapped and witnessing her captors murder her family member.

Rahane, a mother of 10 children works in a small town in Kaduna state, about 300 kilometers outside of the capital city of Abuja. She spends each day traveling on-foot to visit homes and talk to mothers and fathers about the importance of vaccines in keeping their children healthy and safe from disease and disabilities. Rahane also maintains an accurate list of children under five years of age and pregnant mothers in preparation for vaccination campaigns. 

Terrorism, banditry and kidnapping are reported to be prevalent in the area of Kaduna state where Rahane lives, but her work has remained unfaltered. She was kidnapped for ransom by abductors who knew she worked for UNICEF and assumed she was earning a lot of money. Rahane’s father-in-law was murdered during the kidnapping and she was held for 11 days until her family finally paid her captors some money for her release. Despite this harrowing experience, Rahane continues to dedicate her work to keeping the children in her community safe from polio and other killer diseases.