Skip to content Skip to cookie consent
Tearfund home

Your Neighbour is Thirsty

Your generous gift can help us provide life-saving water to those going thirsty in Ethiopia.

How often would you like to donate?

Orbisa's story

For many people in the north-east of Ethiopia, the impact of climate change is devastating. They used to expect rain for up to four months a year, but now it only falls in August. People do not have enough water to survive – it is an issue of life or death.

For families like Orbisa's, everyday life is a real struggle. Orbisa lives with her husband and nine children in Afar, north-east Ethiopia – one of the hottest inhabited places in the world.

‘Life is very challenging here, we have no food and are dependent on our livestock for our livelihood,' says Orbisa. 'Whenever there is no rainfall, our animals die as there is no grass or water. This affects our lives significantly. We will not get money or have milk to drink. We have no other option.'

Orbisa and two of her children.

During the rainy season, Orbisa could collect water from a river just five minutes’ walk from her village. But as the dry season has extended due to the changing climate, this river has now dried up and no longer provides for Orbisa and her family.

‘In the last ten years, the droughts are now increasing from year to year. Households used to depend on the water from the river. During the dry season, those streams dry up and then availability of water is very, very difficult,’ says Berhanu Dawa, Programme Director of Tearfund partner, Friendship Support Association (FSA).

One of Orbisa's children.

No one should have to go to bed thirsty

Now, Orbisa has to walk for up to ten hours every day to collect water for her family. Due to the searing heat, Orbisa is forced to start walking before sunrise, often leaving her village at 4am. The walk is very dangerous as she faces wild animals, including hyenas and leopards.

‘The water I collect is not sufficient, I am only able to collect less than half of what my family needs each day. We need most of it for drinking, but sometimes it is not enough and my family has to go to bed thirsty. I feel extremely sad whenever I cannot provide water for my children,’ says Orbisa.

Help us to provide life-saving water

As climate change has contributed to extended drought, the area has become even more dry and arid. People are suffering and giving up hope. Forced to collect dirty water, more people are getting sick and their livestock – their only source of income – are dying due to lack of water.

But, there is good news. Tearfund is changing lives, by working with local partner, Friendship Support Association (FSA), to set up solar-powered wells that will provide clean water closer to communities. This will help to restore hope and give new life for all who live there.

‘If we could get water access in our village, this would change things for me. This is the first and most important thing that would give me hope,’ says Orbisa.

Need help with your donation?

If you have any questions that haven’t been answered here, please email [email protected] or contact our lovely Supporter Enquiries team on 020 3906 3906.

Share this page

Share this page to spread the word and help support those in need.

Get our email updates

Learn about our work and stay in touch with Tearfund. Hear about our news, activities and appeals by email.

Sign up now - Get our email updates

Cookie preferences

Your privacy and peace of mind are important to us. We are committed to keeping your data safe. We only collect data from people for specific purposes and once that purpose has finished, we won’t hold on to the data.

For further information, including a full list of individual cookies, please see our privacy policy.

  • These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

  • These cookies allow us to measure and improve the performance of our site. All information these cookies collect is anonymous.

  • These allow for a more personalised experience. For example, they can remember the region you are in, as well as your accessibility settings.

  • These cookies help us to make our adverts personalised to you and allow us to measure the effectiveness of our campaigns.