Our work is currently organised around three main campaigns:
Campaign: Internally displaced persons
A new job for Mariam
Campaign: Building new communities
Campaign: Girls' education
INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS
Our home was in the east of the country, near Jijiga.
There’s me, my daughter who is 8 and my son son who is 4. I’m on my own since
my husband left but we were happy and settled in our home with my mother
Then life changed.
Tensions grew and gangs of youths have been attacking our homes and stealing all we have - some of my friends were killed. I was terrified that my children would be the next to die – so we took what we could carry and have come here to Bishoftu.
It’s hard for us. We have a room, but no blankets so we are cold at night.
I used to travel back home to Jijjiga, to some local goods from the area which I could re-sell in the market here, but there are new regulations and so these get confiscated on the road.
We get some rice and oil from the government but it is not enough. The children are
bored and hungry. My mother has now come to join us – so that’s one more mouth
But there are good things too. Sadu my daughter has made a friend from a local
family. They play together every day and share all they have.
Internally displaced persons are refugees within their own country.
This is a growing problem in Ethiopia with almost 4 million people driven from their homes.
Trouble hotspots are the eastern border with Somalia where the conflicts over the border spill over into Ethiopia, and parts of the south where the largest ethnic group of the Sidamo want more control of the region.
In some places extremist Islamic groups attack churches and Christian homes. The government is committed to an open democratic model and have released political prisoners, which has led to new political parties being re-formed, and some are militant and ethnically based.
The government has provided land for accommodation and growing food. Our local branches are working with them to build communities.
What we are doing
We are building permanent homes from timber and corrugated iron giving each family their own living space.
We are installing water containers to give fresh drinking water, with soap and sanitiser
We are providing basic foodstuffs such as flour and dirkosh or dried injera, the traditional bread.
We are supporting children to go to school
(pictures show houses built for IDPs and one of the water containers)
A new job for Mariam
Mariam was part of our vocational training project, learning to sew to support
herself and her family.
Mariam and girls like her are employed in small workshops, making sanitary
pads out of bits of cloth collected from shops in the area, and then these are
delivered free of charge to schools. Already these simple projects are having
a big effect on the attendance at school of girls.
Its just one of our many projects addressing the challenges girls fact at school.
Girls face many pressures. Some girls are taken out of school as young as 12 to marry an older man; female circumcision is common, and peer pressure often forces girls into this procedure; then just managing their periods can be a further difficulty when there are no separate toilets for girls.
These problems have become worse since coronavirus restrictions with increased levels of rape, child marriage and harmful traditional practices reported across the country.
That's why we are making girls education a priority.
What We're Doing
Our workshops are making sanitary pads for free distribution free around schools
We are building toilet blocks to provide separate facilities for boys and girls.
We are providing education and training to support and empower women and girls facing gender based violence and other harmful practices. Our community volunteers support girls and help them to resist violence, reject genital mutilation, and where necessary obtain justice in the courts.
a workshop making sanitary pads a new toilet with separate space for girls a training session for commuity workers
SUPPORTING VULNERABLE CHILDREN
Epsudink and her brother Miki were orphaned when their mother died.
Adanech, their aunt whose husband had died and who already had two children
of her own, welcomed Epsudink and Miki into her family.
Adanech was house-sitting and threatened with eviction. There was little money
and often she could only afford to give the children bread and water.
Epsudink had just started at school and had learnt to write her name, but Miki was traumatised by his experiences and could not speak or communicate.
Life was hard but Adanech was determined. She told us "I will look after these children until I die".
Our local team got to know them, and our community co-ordinator visited them regularly.
We made small monthly payments for one year and also helped the aunt set up
a small business with training and a grant.
One year later we saw big changes.
Adanech had been helped to set up a small shop by her house to gain a regular
income. She had secured use of the house.
Now both children are both at school. Miki talks and talks, Epsudink is proud of her reading.
What We're Doing
Support of OVCs (Orphans and Vulnerable Children) is at the heart of all we do.
The local management committee identifies children most at risk and arranges for them to be cared by a local family. Often this will be their own extended family.
The guardian receives a small monthly payment to cover expenses such as medicine and school materials.
She - its usually a woman - also receives financial support - part grant, part loan - to set up a small business. She also receives training and are regularly visited by our community volunteers.
For Adanech this meant a secure home, a small shop to gain in income and the children settled at school.
The total cost of this new start for the whole family is £120.
Epsudink and Miki show their reading skills Adanech with her shop