Zerhara exemplifies the dignity and the resilience of the many families living in Gende Tesfa. In her sixties (or she believes – she has no personal record of when she was born!), Zerhara has been treated for leprosy and can barely move her chafed hands.
Despite her health problems, Zerhara is raising her grandchildren on her own because their parents aren’t around. Along with Remedin (11), Hamdiya (9) and Mohammad (6), she lives in a very basic crowded hut where they sleep on the floor. Their toilet is a hole in the ground with some rags hanging around it.
This proud grandmother works long days gathering fire-wood and earns around 20 Birr for that (around 60p) Feeding her children can be challenging. When asked, Zerhara shakes her head, looks down at the ground and says: “Sometimes I can only give them sugared water for breakfast, and other times they share a slice of bread. I do what I can but sometimes it’s not enough.”
Both Remedin and Hamdiya go to school, but they often feel lethargic because they haven’t eaten. As is the case for many other families in Gende Tesfa, it is difficult for Zerhara to find the money for their school uniforms. Mohammad will start school soon too.
The family has an ox which is tied to a tree next to the toilet. Zerhara is very proud of it, and believes that if she can fatten the animal to sell it at the market they might have a brighter future.
Partners for Change has recently raised money to help Zerhara and her grandchildren and in the months ahead we will be following her progress. So keep tuned!
There are many orphans in the village of Gende Tesfa – why don’t you join us and give hope back to some of the poorest children in the world
* £10 will pay for a child to attend tutorial class for a year. This will help children who have missed education to catch up and improve their opportunities
* £120 supports an orphan for a year. This will help us to find them a loving family to care for them, provide food, clothes and uniform, books and pens to go to school.
* £120 provides a carer with training and star-up money to start a small business. All the carers are people who live in the community and they themselves are poor. We will support and guide them along the way. When their business is established we can then help other orphan children who need a family.