These mothers in Ethiopia thank you for your gift of Quilts and Kits

Adanch Bekele sits on the dirt floor feeding her three-day-old son. The building once served as a slaughter house. Now it shelters 1,000 Ethiopians displaced from their homes by violence and unrest. Despite the austere surroundings at Kera refugee camp, she counts her blessings.  

The 30-year-old mother of four has been here a year. She had to leave most of her life behind but thanks to your generosity, her baby has clothing because of the baby care kit. He has a quilt you made as well, providing warmth on cool nights and protection from various life-threatening diseases.  

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In a camp filled with thousands of children, many who have not had a change of clothing in a year, the distribution sponsored by Lutheran World Relief has given her necessities. It is more than she expected. Her baby is lucky. He has come into a world without violence and with all he needs, she says. 

Leaving behind their lives 

More than one million Ethiopians in the region have been displaced from their homes because of an ethnic conflict. Unfortunately, only a few people like you have stepped in. While other refugee and internally-displaced populations have benefited from organized responses, this one has fallen almost exclusively on local governments and donors.

Our partner, People in Need, is one of the few NGOs providing services. Many of those living here walked more than a week to get here to a camp where nearly 5,000 people are living. Food is not plentiful, there are few if any ways to earn income and there are no opportunities for children to attend school.

“I have been in camps and settlements where there are registration sites and the UNHCR is everywhere and NGOs are everywhere,” says Carrie Taneyhill, Deputh Director, Emergency Operations for Lutheran World Relief/IMA World Health. “This is not like that at all. It’s pretty much a forgotten emergency.” 

With our partner we are running two emergency programs. At the recent distribution every family got two quilts, one personal care kit and baby care kits.  

  

Emebet Elias, 35, holds her baby at an LWR Quilt & Kit distribution in Ethiopia.

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A personal gift

People are so appreciative they treat the quilts reverently, refusing to put them on the ground and opting instead to wear them as clothing. Birahanu Mengesha, 35, is one of them, draping himself in a beautiful purple quilt he refuses to put on the ground. Because donors like you made the quilts by hand, putting love and care into each stitch, he sees the quilt more like a personal gift and treats it as such. 

He and his family of eight have been here a year. He says the quilts and baby care kits have reduced his family’s suffering, especially the children with no clothing. Several of his children have not had a change of clothing the entire time they have been in the camp. The baby care kits give them relief and the personal care kit allows his wife to feel some sense of normalcy. Something as simple as cutting her nails and combing her hair keeps her connected to her old life, he says. 

Biranahu wants to thank you for your help and support. He also says spread the word. There is much need. 

Tigist Zewede, 35, holds her baby after receiving an LWR Personal Care Kit.

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Our work is not done 

Tigist Zewede, 35, says without the distribution, her children’s situation would be dire because she has no means to provide any of the materials in the kits. “First, I would like to extend my warm gratitude for the support your organization provided,” she says. 

These mothers face many challenges in life, but thanks to your compassionate support, they can keep their children warm. And they know they are not forgotten.

Thank you for everything you do to support mothers around the world through Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health.

 

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