Feeding my children had become easier; Elisabeth

Monday 4 January 2021

Elisabeth(31), is a mother of six- year- old twins who lives in the SNNP (Southern Nations and Nationalities) Regional State. At the age of eleven, Elisabeth had led quite a turbulent life. she lost both her parents and became an orphan. Soon after that she was sent to a foster home where she was raised. However, Elisabeth had a difficult time in her childhood when she was sexually abused in the orphanage.  After that, she became a commercial sex worker at an early age facing many challenges in her life.       

Elisabeth’s story in her own words:

My name is Elisabeth; I am a mother of two twins . When I was 15, my guardian ; man I saw as my father raped me in the orphanage. The event changed the course of my life and brought me to where I am today. At the time, I did not know what to do with the physical and psychological trauma I had experienced. So i decided to migrate to Hawassa town.  

After coming to Hawassa, I had no one to turn to, there was no one to help me, and I finally decided to engage in commercial sex work to be able to survive. Because of the sexual abuse that I experienced, my childhood dreams were darkened and led me in to a life I never wanted and never dreamed of. I never thought this would happen to me. 

In 2009, I first traveled to Kenya and from there moved to Uganda to escape the challenging life here and in search of a better life. I met the father of my children while we were in exile in Uganda and we had our twins together. At the time, my husband was a manager at a Habesha restaurant and I worked as a cook. The closeness we created at work was gradually changed into love and we had children.  However, soon after our children were born my husband convinced me that it would be better for him to go to Europe in search of better life and he then went to Libya through Sudan to get there. 

He was later captured by ISIS in Libya, and they brutally murdered with 14 other Ethiopians. I was very sad at the time and the fact that I was in another country made my grief even worse. I then decided to return home, and soon I left Uganda with my children and returned home.

After returning home, I opened a small beauty salon and raised my children with the income I earned. However, for the past nine months, I had to quit my job because of the Coronavirus pandemic making it more difficult for me to fulfil my children’s needs.    

Since the Coronavirus, we have had to go through the worst  time. These days, I am unable to provide enough food to my children. In the past, I took good care of my children and did whatever I could to provide them with a healthy food. I cannot do that right now, sometimes they just spend the whole day with what they had in the morning. This situation breaks my heart and makes me sad but what can I do?  

Now my children are not as happy as they used to be. They cannot go out and play with their friends as they used to. These days, my children spend more time at home, and because of this, they have become bored. In the recent past, I have been so frustrated with my life that I have even tried to commit suicide. However, with the help of some good people around me and with the cash support that I got from this  project, I was able to overcome that difficult time.   

I have been receiving 2000 birr a month from the cash program since last September and with the cash support that I received, I first bought enough food for my children and used some leftover money to upgrade  some  of my beauty salon items. Now I am able to provide my children with enough and nutritious food. We received the financial support at a crucial time, without this support my children and I would have been in worse situation. I really would like to thank everyone who provided us this support.  .  

With the next support I get, I am planning to buy more items for my beauty salon, be able to expand my business, and plan to earn more income. 

Finally, my dream for my children in the future is to see them reach the highest level of education and to be citizens who contribute for the development of their country.         

What Save the Children doing to help Elisabeth and others like her? 

Save the Children, through the Emergency cash Assistance for households affected by the Coronavirus  pandemic provides cash support for six months. This support will enable families to buy food and other necessities.

The project is funded by USAID with a total budget of nine million USD for six months. The project aims to increase household access and consumption of diverse nutritious food. It is under implementation in  in Addis Abeba, Adama, Dire Dawa, Jigjiga, Hawassa and Bahirdar reaching 29,035 households (Approximately 170,000 people).