Ethiopia – April 10 2020

Coronavirus in Ethiopia: a grandmother's struggle

"We are faced with hard times and we don’t see the end coming anytime soon," Abeba says. Hear her story in her own words.

Abeba Seyoum, a grandmother from Ethiopia, struggles to provide the basics for her family. 

Abeba lives with one of her adult daughters and a granddaughter in Harar, Ethiopia. Her family used to receive support from the SOS family strengthening program, allowing her to build up her business and support her grandaughter. But the coronavirus pandemic has caused a setback for the family.  

In Abeba's own words:

"My children are at home now as schools are closed because of the coronavirus. The meager income I used to get from the petty trading business I had barely covers the family’s basic needs now.

"I used to sell items like sugar, tea leaves and spices used for cooking. This pandemic is costing us a lot. We are faced with hard times and we don’t see the end coming anytime soon. Because of the restriction of movement in the town, I cannot go to the market to bring in items that I usually sell. The little profit I used to get is no longer there. We are struggling!

"We are told to protect ourselves and families from the virus daily by the media and community workers. We do know how to protect ourselves from this deadly virus and we use soap and water as much as possible to wash our hands. We have soap and sanitizer in the house but we cannot afford to buy personal protective items like face masks and gloves. I can only run around to put food on my family’s table and these items, although necessary, are not something I can try and provide to everyone in the house. I am praying for all this to be over soon."

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