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Defender of widows

By Gideon Heugh | 08 Feb 2019

Losing a spouse is heartbreaking under any circumstances. But when you’re living in poverty it becomes a challenge we can scarcely imagine.

‘A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.’ (Psalm 68:5)

Losing a spouse is heartbreaking under any circumstances. But when you’re living in poverty, facing one of the worst droughts on record, it becomes a challenge we can scarcely imagine.

Kiyar*, from rural Ethiopia, is the sole provider for her five children. Her husband died a year ago.

The family used to own a herd of cattle. They made a decent living selling milk and butter. However, a prolonged drought killed every one of their fifty-strong herd. ‘We lost everything,’ Kiyar says.

Moreover, the drought tripled the price of food, meaning Kiyar was often unable to feed her children. ‘Life has been getting tougher in our area in general, and in my household in particular,’ Kiyar says. ‘I never had such a stressful experience in my entire life.’

A burden lifted
Yet now, if you were to meet Kiyar, you would see an energetic, youthful woman with a wonderful smile.

Tearfund’s local church partner has been helping communities going through especially hard times by providing cash grants. As one of the most vulnerable members of her community, Kiyar was given a grant to help her and her family.

‘I am very happy with the cash that was provided to me,’ she says. ‘I have received 2,400 ETB [roughly £65] for two months. I have used the money to purchase food for my children, which I couldn’t otherwise.’

The grant got her family through the worst of the crisis – relieving a burden that no one should have to face alone. ‘I would like to thank [the church] for supporting me and my children at this critical time,’ Kiyar says.

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*Name changed to protect identity

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Photo of Gideon Heugh

Written by Gideon Heugh