Commonly in Southern Ethiopia, animals are the responsibility of the husband. Healthy animals not only help to create food for families, they help till the land, transport water, bring items to market, provide fertilizer and create offspring. These animals create a method of sustainability for families.
Yet, that line is broken when a husband dies and their widows are left to shoulder all the burdens of her family. Death brings additional costs to the family. The payment for a proper funeral is typically one animal such as a cow. Widows with one or two animals have to make a difficult choice. Sell the animal to pay for a funeral, sell the animal at market or try to learn how to care for an animal they’ve never managed.
The wrong decision could lead to additional burdens. Financial burdens where widows need to sell off family items rely on charity to sustain her family or scenarios where her children need to do labor to help.
A little over a year ago, our Widows project set out to help those widows by bringing them new, healthy livestock or poultry and teaching them how to care for and manage the creatures. In July 2013, we gave each widow 1 cow and 1 sheep. Today we are happy to report that 15 new calves and an amazing 42 lambs have been born as of today. We started with 36 sheep and now have 78 sheep total (a 51% increase).
Below are pictures of the widows with the new born calves and lambs
This is a success in many ways but only one important one – the widows. Their dedication to their families has been nothing short of amazing and their willingness to learn how to care for livestock and apply that knowledge has helped grow their farms. With each new creature, they begin their rise from poverty and gain their independence.
Numerical progress report of the project after one year:
Yet none of this would be possible without your financial support. Your support is making an expanding mark on the lives of 36 widows and their families.