Ethiopia: FH Housing the Homeless after Disastrous Fire

Fig. 1, Provision of Iron Sheets

In our May blog, we described Food for the Hungry’s plans for response to the fire that destroyed many houses in Shashego District. With a grant of $10,000 from FH, FH/Ethiopia were able to partner with the local leaders and purchase house-building materials for 23 of the displaced families.

Today most of the families have been able to move back from tents into new homes, and the rest of the buildings are nearing completion. Here are two personal stories:

Story One: Hawande Gute

Hawande lives 10 km southwest of Bonosha, capital of Shashego, with her five boys and three girls. Her husband Suraj Bejigo died three years ago and at the age of 60, Hawande faces the daunting task of raising her children alone.

To add to this challenge, her house and all her things were destroyed in a ravaging fire that broke out on February 10th 2012. After the fire, they had to start living in a plastic tent provided by the District Agriculture Office. This was unsatisfactory as they were exposed to wild animals, wind and cold. They planned to construct a small grass-roofed house through her own savings but after six months, with low prices for her crops, she was not able to make ends meet or get into a house.

Hawande said: “Until I found a new home, I planned to give my children to my relatives elsewhere. Unexpectedly, FH provided us with corrugated iron sheets and packets of nails to build an amazing large home – beyond my plans. The project helped us not only to rebuild houses but also to keep our family together, saving us from social and psychological crises.” Finally she added: “I don’t have words to express my thanks and praise to God who saved us through FH”. Hawande and her family are now living in their new house.

Fig. 2, New home under Construction

Story  two: Wosila Edris

Wosila lives in the same community with her six children. Wosila is 67 years old, blind and leading her family alone as her husband died eight years ago. If that wasn’t bad enough, she lost her house and property in the fire that destroyed the whole neighborhood, like her neighbour Hawande. She also had to move into a plastic tent with her children.

Wosila said: “With the exception of our lives, we lost everything. One day, a hyena and a fox entered our tent, but thankfully they left us alone. Then we had the pleasant surprise of getting 50 corrugated iron sheets and 7 packets of nails per household from FH. We slowly started to recover from despair to hope. My son and I, who were both victims, agreed to combine and construct one house, each of us contributing 35 sheets – and to use the remaining 30 sheets for a service area and kitchen.

“It was God’s message to me that he knows better than anybody including my children. I am praising and praying three times a day to bring glory to God in my newly reconstructed home. Now, thanks to my Heavenly Father, our homelessness has become history.”

Fig. 3, One of the new homes


Do tell us what you think of these stories, and check out what else FH is doing in Ethiopia on our website: Food for the Hungry in Ethiopia



About Martin

Emergency Response Unit, FH. Based in Buckinghamshire, UK and formerly a mechanical engineer with BP. Attends parish church of St. James, Gerrard's Cross.

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