Sokare Tona, mother of seven, lives in Ziway, Oromia region, Ethiopia. 5 years ago Sokare got seriously ill due to malaria.
“My husband sold the cattle to make sure that I would get well, and I did get well. But afterwards our life was not the same anymore. We used to depend on our cattle for milk and our land for food. We lost both. We sold the animals and we rented out our land. We didn’t have any money to buy seeds for farming. We rented out our land for $24 for a period of eight months. We managed to grow cabbage, which is the main food in our house, only during the rainy season. We became very poor after my recovery.”
For the last five years, this was the story of Sokare. Oxfam supported Sokare and her family through one of its development projects. Now, 5 years after her illness, 30 year old Sokare is a healthy, happy and hardworking mother.
“Oxfam gave us ‘a knife and meat to eat’; thanks to Oxfam we are now growing maize and, on the side, we are harvesting cabbage every week. In just a month, I sold three quintals of cabbage for $143 and, I have already saved $95. I can now buy other essentials for the house. From now on, we don’t have to rent out our land and, I am not afraid of repaying the loan I received. My family and I are all doing well at the farm; we are moving forward. With the profit we will renew our house, we will buy cows and oxen and, we will then buy a bed, as we all sleep on the floor.”
The Oxfam Gendered Horticulture Enterprise development project has changed the lives of many women in Ethiopia. Sokare is one of them. She became member of one of the women groups who have been able to access a $286 loan which allows them to be part of the Household Irrigation Technology (HIT), a project that enables women to engage in agriculture and diversify their income.