Zewditu: Looking to the Future (Ethiopia)
Zewditu Tona and her husband Bafa Enaro are farmers living in Sodo Zuria, Ethiopia. Zewditu's father-in-law owns the land and helps out with the children while she and her husband farm. Zewditu cultivates potato, banana, cabbage and tomato, and uses organic compost to help fertilize the crops. They have 4 children ages 13, 10, 7, and 3; the three oldest attend school. Zewditu and her husband previously had trouble paying for their children's school uniforms and putting food on the table, but now they are able to plan for the future.
She is a participant in MEDA's Ethiopians Fighting Against Child Exploitation (E-FACE) initiative. In collaboration with World Vision, the project aims to improve livelihoods of vulnerable families through support in the textile industry and agriculture. After receiving improved potato seedlings from the project last year, Zewditu has been able to stabilize her family's livelihood. She is able to feed her family with the plentiful potato harvest and purchase two sheep and five chickens. She no longer has to spend as much money on food, and can easily send her children to school well-equipped. Some of the potatoes have been kept in her storeroom, ready for the next planting season.
Zewditu is also a member of a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) group where collective members' savings go towards small loans. She has been saving a couple birr each week and has taken out a 100 birr (US$ 5) loan from her group. Zewditu's vision for the future is to save more to buy a pair of oxen to make her farm more productive. "My life before wasn't as good as what I have now. The loan helped me buy goods, and I'm thinking about the future now."