Children living in Ethiopia’s rural areas don’t need to say a word to tell a story about their life. You can see it in their eyes … stories about their health, hope, frustration, nutrition level and more.
At the end of May, I visited Food for the Hungry’s (FH) Sisga project in Ethiopia with a team from Lambrick Park Church based in Victoria, Canada. The whole week, my camera was busy. At the end of my trip, before I left the project, I downloaded all pictures onto my laptop to review.
As I looked through the photos, I noticed something unusual. All the children’s eyes in the photos were sparkling, beautiful and healthy. I searched back again and again to find running eyes of children. Some kids had messy faces or clothes, but I could not find any tearing eyes.
I asked myself why? What is the secret behind this change?
Abera Shagrdi, FH Sasiga project manager, told me that since the commencement of the project in 2004, 14 water springs and 33 hand dug wells have been constructed. This means more than 8,000 families (more than 40,000 people) can access clean and potable water.
He added, “There are three more water sources are under construction and more than 500 families (2,500 family people) are supposed to access them by the end of 2014.”
Community members also received sanitation training to contain waste for preventing spread of diseases. Besides the training, 2,650 concrete slabs were distributed to those families who dug pit latrines. Now, more than 13,000 people are using them. The rest of community members are building slabs from local materials for their pit latrines.
“Currently FH’s Sasiga project is addressing the needs of 594 children in sponsorship program and more than 36,000 community members of nine kebeles (large villages) in creating access to water and sanitation, preventive health support, education support, agriculture support, environmental protection, improved livestock production, social development and the like,” said Abera. “In the coming fiscal year, we have a plan to expand our service to nine more villages in the highland part of the district. We are doing the ground work to start the expansion in the coming October 2014.”
Unfortunately, I was sick and stayed behind at the base camp when the Lambrick Park Church team visited the highland villages where FH Sasiga project will expand. I’m looking forward to the day I can go there and see how the children are growing up healthy because of sponsorship and people like you who help us to keep reaching the poor in places where no one else will go.