Trees for a better life in Ethiopia

EthiopiaWhen a food crisis hit the Horn of Africa in 2011, the Caritas confederation responded with an out-pouring of solidarity. This support helped the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat (Caritas Ethiopia) to accompany people in their recovery from the drought.

Eighteen-year-old Adanech is one such person. Her father died when she was a little girl and her mother is too elderly to work or undertake strenuous activity.

“It is now my responsibility to take care of my mother and earn enough for us to survive,” she told a delegation of Caritas Canada (Development and Peace) visiting Ethiopia.

Adanech tried to find a part-time job to do after school but in southern Ethiopia, where she is from, it was not easy to find a job. “Sometimes I had to travel far away to work, it was hard but now I have new hope.”

It was through Caritas, Adanech found a job participating in the cash for work activity at a nursery for fruits and trees. The nursery is close to her home and every day, after school she comes to do her task of watering and weeding the seedlings. In addition to this she also cleans the surroundings to keep the nursery neat. “For my work, I earn enough every day to cover our daily needs with my mother,” she said.

She is excited about the five avocado and five mango trees she received from the project. “I planted them in our backyard and take good care of them. In just two years they will grow to give me fruits we can eat and sell. I could get about 100 kilos of mango and 100 kilos of avocado every year for each tree that I will be able to sell at the market.”

With a smile on her face, she added,

“My dream of  a better life for me and my mother seems to be just around the corner. I even think we could buy our own cow one day.”

Just two years after the peak of the food crisis, the support and work of Caritas member organisations is bearing fruit. The nursery will help improve the lives of over 500 households by growing eco-friendly trees and fruits.

“Now people are not just seeking food assistance but are building sustainable life styles,” said Archbishop Terrence Prendergast from Ottawa, one member of the Canadian delegation.

“I am proud of the support we provide to the affected population in Ethiopia,” said Michael Casey, executive director of Caritas Canada. “

With our sister Caritas, the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat, we will continue to accompany and support the development of sustainable communities and improve the lives and livelihoods of our brothers and sisters in some of the most vulnerable areas of the country,” he said.

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