While visiting a village high on a mountainside in Ethiopia we saw a procession of people hurrying down the hillside. As it came near us we realised a group of about 15 men were taking turns to relay a home-made stretcher carrying one of their community to a clinic several miles away. The sense of urgency was thick in the air. PovertySwap defines the poverty and need of those we are able to help with a question “what happens when something goes wrong? If a child needs lifesaving surgery, a bread-winning father has a heart-attack, it rains at harvest time and there’s no food? PovertySwap friends and supporters become life-givers.
In 2010 during our very first visit to Ethiopia we met a small group of women with HiV/Aids and their very small, often very sick babies. They had been encouraged by our friend to attend the drop-in facility, a small dark room without facilities, to have contact with other women.
With a struggle this developed through workshops where women began to discuss openly their story, growing in confidence and self-esteem. Training courses started and women began their own businesses.
Today our partners manage a large purpose-built centre for the care and development of families with multiple needs related to poverty.
We have been able to help with housing, medicines, food and employment training but the most powerful development to date has come through those who have trained to run their own small business, been funded and supported to do so. They have become independent, active businesswomen in their communities. Hundreds of families and children have had their lives transformed through this process.
Whilst in Ethiopia HIV/Aids is statistically less prolific, compared to many African nations, to develop the virus is still too easy and much ignorance surrounds it. Women are often abandoned with their children when it is unfaithful husbands who have brought home the disease.
At Dorcas Development the team are working to teach young people the benefits of good health care, moral integrity and intelligent core values. Local children come for After School Clubs and always have an ear who will listen to their stories, offer advice and counsel. These long term relationships could save many, many lives and even avoid a generation of newborn babies contracting the virus.