The Power of Community to Change a Life

Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.
― Mother Teresa

Tiru, age 78, lives in the Wufta Dati community located 20 km north of Dangla town. When Project Ethiopia began working in her area this year, she was one of 37 homes to receive iron roofing intended to create a dry, healthy living environment for those with no other means to afford such an improvement. Her new home would not have been possible, however, if it weren’t for the generosity and support of her community.

Tiru has four children – three sons and one daughter – all of whom are now married and live in the Dangla area. When she was 63, Tiru and her husband divorced leaving her with 0.75 hectare of farm land (slightly under 2 acres) which she rented out to another farmer, one cow, and a small, round grass roofed home. By this time, only her youngest two children lived with her, but within five years, they too got married and moved out of the home.

With a small amount from renting out her land and support from her youngest son, Tiru was just barely able to meet her basic needs. Her home leaked terribly every rainy season with no relief in sight, but the cost to replace it with a durable roof was far beyond her reach. When she was selected by Project Ethiopia to receive iron roofing, she felt so happy.

The next step prior to roofing installation is building a eucalyptus wood frame (walls and roof) to accommodate the rectangular sheets of corrugated iron. This step, along with preparing the mud/straw plaster for the walls, is typically handled by the family. When others in the community learned that Tiru was not about to provide the materials and labor for this task, people quickly came together to assist. They provided the wood and nails for construction and volunteer carpentry support to build the home. In a short period of time, Tiru’s new home was built and Project Ethiopia installed her new iron roofing – just in time for the rainy season!

Now Tiru will remain dry and warm this rainy season due to the generosity and compassion of her fellow villagers who stepped forward to help in her time of need. The power of community at work and a moving reminder of how we all have the capacity to help others in both big ways and small.

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