Like many girls in Wolaiyta, southern Ethiopia, Kidist Solomon married at the age of 14 when she was in elementary school. Now 20 years old, she’s a housewife, mother-of-one and Red Cross volunteer bringing food to people who don’t have any.
Kidist’s husband works for a local HIV charity and the couple struggle to survive on his income. However, they both spend their free time volunteering with the Red Cross.
She said: “Despite life’s many challenges, I get the most satisfaction by serving people who need more help than I do. My husband and I are very happy to be Red Cross volunteers.”
Wolaiyta is suffering a food crisis. Even in a good year, many households in the area are unable to get enough food.
Since November 2007, three harvests in a row have failed due to floods and drought, and food prices have shot up. This means that people who need to buy more food as a result of losing their crops cannot afford to do so.
Kidist is one of hundreds of Red Cross volunteers distributing food relief in Damot Pulasa and Damot Galle districts in Wolaiyta. She said: “I am caught by mixed feelings. On the one hand, I feel sad for what has happened to them. On the other hand, I am happy they get food relief from the Red Cross and I can serve them as a volunteer.”
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