From Poverty to Power: Testimonies of Widows in southern Ethiopia
Martha Becho, 42, is a widow living in southern Ethiopia, Wolata zone, Humbo district with her six children. She has been struggling with the tides of life alone in the past twenty years, since she lost her beloved husband suddenly. Raising six children up alone with a very small income she gets from her small retailing business was so hard for this mother, Martha. All those years had been full of miseries and hardship for the children too, for they lost the care giver and bread winner of the family, their wonderful daddy. “In the late 2017 when SHAPEthiopia launched its project in my home town, Tebela and enrolled my sixth child Abite in to its Child Development Program, it was a great relief for me” Says Woyzero Martha. “Now, again the organization surprised me by providing me with a heifer and a sheep to enable me start my own livestock business and get additional income, I have no words to say!”
Like Martha hundreds of poor widows in southern Ethiopia witness that SHAPEthiopia’s Widows’ Hope Livestock and Poultry Development Project has changed their very life in many positive ways. In the past seven years through this project 71 widows in Shanto, Wolayta and 25 widows in Borcha, Sidama started their livestock businesses with the animals that SHAPEthiopia provided to them. Besides using the produce they got from the animals for their family’s daily consumption the widows got extra money by selling the milk and its products to the market. They became economically empowered and examples of hard work and success in their respective communities. To replicate these good experiences to other new places like Tebela and to empower many more poor widows in the area SHAPethiopia launched the project in Tebela,Wolayta and today was the day that 25 widows of the area are provided with a heifer and a sheep each.
Kuri Basa, 41, is one of these beneficiaries who we met at the compound of Tebela Area Program Coordination Office at Tebela, Wolayta. She told us that she lost her husband eleven years ago and life had been very challenging for her to raise her four kids by herself. And she witnessed that SHAPEthiopia has been providing food, school, materials and uniforms, clothes and shoes and seven kinds of supports to her fourth child Akililu and granted her with a heifer and a sheep . “Thank God that my son Akililu is in school with the support of SHAPEthiopia and I have a livestock business to support my family.”Woyzero Kuri says.
The widows have taken a skills training on animal health, fodder preparation and livestock management and entrepreneurship in the past couple of days by professionals from different government offices. The government has been supporting the project since its initiation phase and the professionals from that government office will continue supporting the widows in following up the business.
As always, SHAPEthiopia is very thankful to our generous supporter Partners With Ethiopia for beginning this first step to make the dreams of our widows a reality.