Before and after: how your donations helped save children’s lives

24 July 2017

 “If I did not get this assistance, I and my children would be dead here.  Because I have been able to buy food, my children are living and we are surviving.” – Herit, Ethiopia

Before: Herit’s struggle during the Ethiopia drought

A mother of five, Herit heads up her household. She lives with her two youngest children, who are 15 and nine years old.  She, like 80 per cent of the population of Ethiopia, lives in a rural area and makes a living from growing barley, maize and sorghum. She relies on rain to feed her crops.

Unfortunately, in 2016 many parts of Ethiopia were hit by two failed rainy seasons, which led to a severe drought. The drought was fuelled by one of the strongest El Niño weather patterns ever recorded.

“During a good season, we would have cultivated barley, wheat and pulses,” said Herit.

“But last year (2016) was a very tough year; it only rained twice and nothing had grown, so we had nothing.”

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CAFOD's response to the drought

The drought badly affected many people like Herit, who rely on farming for their food and income. But your donations meant that our local aid workers could get help to those in need and support people to recover from the hardship.

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Herit’s village community told local CAFOD partner ADCS Mekelle that her family were very vulnerable, and falling deeper into hunger. Our partner gave Herit a ‘direct cash transfer’ – put simply, she received cash, worth around £16, which meant she was able to buy food in the local market place. Herit makes it clear that without this money her options were desperately bleak.

 “If I did not get this assistance, I and my children would be dead here.  Because I have been able to buy food, my children are living and we are surviving.”

Find out why CAFOD gives out money in emergencies

After: Barley seeds and hope for Herit's children

Herit held onto hope, she ploughed her land, and received seeds supported by CAFOD’s local partner, the Relief Society of Tigray.

In November last year, Herit, harvested wheat and barley on her plot of land. She was able to harvest 1,000 kilogrammes of barley and 900 kilogrammes of wheat.

An amazing achievement, especially when you see how barren the land was before.

She has enough cereal to last her for a year and will also sell a portion of her produce to buy some essentials such as soap, cooking oil and vegetables to supplement her family's diet.

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"I am very happy to express my heartfelt gratitude, because of the support given to us, we did not face any problems particularly with our children. No child died, went sick or dropped out of school.

“Looking back when the crisis first broke we were very much worried, the future was very bleak for us. But thanks to the support given to us we now have a good harvest and a good future to look forward to."

Herit’s future plans

Like any parent, Herit places her hopes and dreams in her children’s education.

"When the children finish their education and if I have my way. I would like one of them to be a doctor and the other a teacher.  
“I would like my other child to be a social worker and help others like your organisation has helped me".

Join our Emergency Response Team. Your direct debits allow our local aid workers reach people in the greatest need, saving lives.  

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