Urshe is 60 years old, and she lives in Ethiopia. I’m telling you about her as part of WorldVision‘s latest blogger campaign. There are three bloggers out there now, and 7 of us back home telling you the stories of individual families through our blogs.
I remember the famine in 1984 – I was 13 years old. A child. The same age as my eldest daughter now. I remember the pictures of dying children. The flies. Why were there always so many flies? I remember being overwhelmed but also strongly believing that we could, and would, make a difference.
I’m not sure we did.
But I’m told Ethiopia *has* changed. Today itâ€™s a very different place. The desolate landscapes where crops struggled to grow have gone, replaced by carefully cultivated harvests and farming plots. Dusty roads have now become paved with infrastructure alongside. Schools have been built, staffed and filled with impassioned students. While poverty and hunger are still undeniably present, Ethiopia has changed.
And at the forefront of this change are women.
Women â€“ mums â€“ play a vital role in helping a nation overcome hunger. With their children at the heart of all they do, they act with sheer determination to see them well cared for, healthy and thriving. Itâ€™s women who have taken to their gardens in Ethiopia, who have started small businesses. Itâ€™s women who have banded together in solidarity to start thriving enterprises. The idea of â€˜mumpreneurâ€™ takes on a whole new meaning in the region â€“ and itâ€™s working.
World Vision is taking Jo from Slummy Single Mummy, Helen from Food Stories and Nick from Hunter Gather Cook to Ethiopiaâ€™s #FoodFrontline to meet these incredible women and discover their secrets. Theyâ€™ve also connected seven of these mums with seven UK parenting bloggers â€“ providing an intimate look into their daily life. While their challenges are quite different â€“ from child marriage to living with HIV – what is eerily similar is their daily resolve to see their children flourish.
With Jo, Helen and Nick going as part of the Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign, they will discover Ethiopianâ€™s food lessons and bring these back to the UK – helping mend our own broken food system here and kick start the end of global hunger.
With one in eight people going to bed hungry each night â€“ sadly many of them children â€“ itâ€™s time for a worldwide change. From mums on the frontline to politicians in the UK, everyone has a role to play. Whatâ€™s yours?
What can you do to help?
FollowÂ the trip online using #FoodFrontline and @mummyblogger @FoodStories and @HuntrGatherCook. Weâ€™ll have daily blogs and actions straight from Ethiopia.
Use your voice.Â Blog, tweet and share these stories with your friends, family and followers on social media. Make sure to use the hashtag #FoodFrontline and tweet us at @WorldVisionUK to let us know.
EmailÂ your MP and ask them to act on global hunger today. With the UK government soon to announce this yearâ€™s budget, we must urge leaders to prioritiseÂ ending the global food crisis.
If you need any more reasons to get involved, I’d like you to meet Urshe Rasasa, 60. These are her own words.
Children: Kasahin (38 M), Getnet (24 M), Galera (21 F), Tigist (28), Fantaye (31 F), Shimekit (25)
Grandchildren: Sintayehu (14 M), Tsata (15 F), Gete, (17 F)
My name is Urshe Rasasa. Iâ€™m 60 years old. I have six of my own children, and I also have three grandchildren that Iâ€™m raising myself.
Iâ€™m struggling to bring all of these children up. Itâ€™s not a comfortable environment, because there are some money shortages to raise them properly. But still, thereâ€™s love. Iâ€™m doing my best to care for them.
I got married myself at just 14 and had my first baby at 15 years old. The marriage was not right, my consent wasnâ€™t there. My family proposed it and I was forced into it, it was really difficult for me to overcome. There was a financial crisis as well – we didnâ€™t have any money. Itâ€™s really not good to get married at an early age.
It was difficult to care for my children then and now Iâ€™m struggling to take care of my childrenâ€™s children. My grandkids have lost their parents – one through divorce and the other two through the death of their mother. She died less than a month ago. Itâ€™s been a really hard time for me. Thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m wearing my black clothes today – Iâ€™m in mourning.
My daughterâ€™s death was an emergency death. We took her to hospital and it was there that she passed away. There was no serious illness she suffered, it was simply an emergency. (World Vision staff believe it was from AIDS.)
Her children have been sponsored with World Vision for five or six years. Theyâ€™ve been supported in that time with different education materials and clothing, and when they feel ill we can take them to the hospital. Itâ€™s because of sponsorship that we have no problems for them.
I hope that my grandchildren will continue their education and may have the chance to be in a position to work. Then one day they can help me in the future! I will always continue to support them.
Ursheâ€™s granddaughter Tsata, 15, then spoke up. â€˜I really appreciate that my grandma takes care of us like our parents. I have no words to express how much she means to me.â€™