Firewood gatherers, Entoto, Addis Ababa

Firewood gatherers, Entoto, Addis Ababa

Poverty is obviously in your face when you visit Ethiopia. Certainly, steps are being made to overcome the abject poverty of so many people in the country, there is still plenty of evidence to show that vast numbers of people are struggling to exist on a daily basis.

One of the more heart wrenching moments during our recent visit was to witness the plight of the women firewood gatherers on Mt Entoto near Addis Ababa. These poor women carry huge bundles of firewood from the forest around the mountain down to the city. The load is more than most people would be capable of carrying, yet these small women, bent over from the sheer weight of their load, probably do this journey daily. In some cases I believe that some of them do the trip several times a day. The income derived from this enterprise barely covers the living expenses of their family.

The encounter made me concerned for their welfare, but I felt extremely helpless.

On a more positive note, there are programmes beginning to emerge to help these hapless women. By giving them alternative means of making an income, some are being freed from what can only be called slavery. One such strategy is mentioned here.

Firewood gatherers, Entoto, Addis Ababa

 

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