August 2023: Ethiopia / Lalibela: PBF reaches out to the poor

PBF reaches out to the poor who don’t know the Foundation can help them

Mekdes Melash, now 28, was engaged to a poor church worker when she was 12 and later married. The marriage was good at first. Five years ago, she gavebirth to her first daughter and in December 2021 she gave birth to three daughters via caesarean section at Lalibela Hospital. Lalibela was then occupied by the soldiers of the TPLF military regime. Mekdes was fortunate to only have one caretaker. However, the problems came afterwards. After the triplets were born, her husband was dissatisfied and filed for divorce. Desperate, the abandoned Mekdes turned to the court because she urgently needed help for her three children. But her ex-husband earn not any money and could not or would not support her. The local authorities granted her an allowance to which needy people in Lalibela are entitled. With that, she and her children barely survived, but not the third of her triplets. It died because Mekdes had too little milk. In order not to lose the other two babies as well, she was forced to ask other people for help. This fear and their bitter poverty weighed heavily on them. Many people contact the Peter Bachmann Foundation office to get help. Unfortunately, Mekdes did not know about this possibility, probably because she can neither read nor write. However, PBF not only helps those who come into their office, but also, if possible, everyone who desperately needs it. The leading employee of the PBF Lalibela branch, Abebe Zewdu, regularly visits the living quarters of the poorest in order to arrange state health insurance for them. On this occasion he also got to know Mekdes and her crying children – a sad example for many people in Lalibela and all over Ethiopia who innocently live in need and absolute poverty. She herself suffers from stunted growth due to lifelong malnutrition, as do her children when they cannot be fed better. The small family lives in a dirty, cramped room where it is difficult to sleep properly and where there is no blanket to keep warm. The two daughters who survived suckle on both breasts at the same time and cry when no more milk comes.

Immediately Abebe Zewdu informed Peter Bachmann about the intolerable situation of Mekdes and her children – and got the green light from him to help her immediately. The health and nutrition experts from PBF then clarified which form of support is right for Mekdes. They decided to buy her a cow that was either pregnant or lactating for $740 and some chickens. Keeping these farm animals is quite possible and easy for a single mother to cope with. They provide food for her and their children, and what they do not need Mekdes can sell and earn a small income. Mekdes has also received a piece of land from the local authorities so that she can build a small house with a barn for the cow and the chickens, financed by PBF with 1100 dollars.

PBF is an organization that serves the community by addressing such social crises in Ethiopia.

Abebe Zewdu

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