Christian Aid turns 70 this year. To mark Christian Aid Week (from 10 to 16 May) Joe Ware reports on how one cow can transform the lives of women in Ethiopia and change both communities and culture
Sat on a low stool in her small, round, thatched home, 29-year-old Loko is luminous in the dark room. Even though her clothes are ripped, with numerous holes, she carries herself with poise and quiet dignity, elegantly wrapping her bright shawl around herself as she speaks. Her hair is neatly braided and she wears a colourful beaded choker. She is shy at first, but soon becomes purposeful and serious as she opens up about her life.
The dirt floor is uneven and indented with footprints. Pride of place goes to a shelving unit made from mud and dung. On the highest shelf are several books and papers, school things of Loko’s stepdaughter, Dabo. The pages are well-thumbed and the books have ripped spines.
On the floor, next to the ashes of the fire, is a traditional wooden game played by men. The women don’t have enough free time to play games.
On either side of the room are benches, made from horizontal canes supported by trusses, and covered with goat skins. During the day these provide seating while at night they are slept on. Tethered to one of them is a white baby goat…
This article was published in the May 2015 edition of Reform.