25 year old Selam Lemma has been a community volunteer for Partners For Change Ethiopia in Gende Tesfa for the last 2 years and earns around 500 Birr a month pocket money. This is equivalent to £16. She lives in Dire Dawa not far from the community of Gende Tesfa.
“I love my job because I get to help children from the poorest members of our community and that is really satisfying, she says. “But it is very difficult for my family and I to get by on what I earn. We eat very basic food like injera and beans.”
Selam’s father died in 1992, and her mother died in 2013 too leaving Selam all alone to look after her sisterand her brother. Her eldest sister has moved to Nigeria with her husband.
Looking at her mother’s shrine in her tiny living-room, Selam fights back the tears and confesses: “My mother was such a strong woman, and I miss her so much. I felt completely lost at first but then realised that I had to keep our family together. My faith has helped me a lot and given me inner-strength. I am an orthodox Christian.”
Selam’s favourite motto is: “Tomorrow is another day” and she hopes that life will continue to improve for her family and the Gende Tesfa community. Her dream is become a communications expert one day.