Ethiopian Mother Puts Her Children’s Education First
Published on 15 July 2011

Mary Nyawere from Yawol village in Western Ethiopia receives emergency food assistance from WFP.  Thanks to this assistance, she can send all her children to school and even host a refugee family who arrived in her village from South Sudan.  WFP/Judith Schuler

The last harvest was a complete failure for Mary Nyawere Thwar, a mother of eight from Yawol village in Western Ethiopia close to the border with South Sudan. Life is not easy but thanks to the emergency food assistance they receive from WFP, the family has enough to eat, the children can continue their education and they can even host a South Sudanese family who fled fighting in their country.

“For me, keeping my children at school is my first priority,” says Mary while she is sitting in front of her small hut. “Without the food we receive from WFP, this would be very, very hard. The last harvest was a complete failure because we didn’t have any rain but now we have enough to eat and we are waiting for a better harvest in four months.”
Mary’s family moved to Yawol four years ago when they had to flee tribal conflicts in another area in Western Ethiopia. Their children were very frightened and they had nothing left to eat. The family has been cultivating maize in the village and to cover their needs, Mary is washing clothes for the people working on the road construction nearby.
Even though Mary and all her neighbors face a daily struggle to survive, they are very generous – sharing whatever they have with people from South Sudan who sought refuge in their village after fleeing fighting and conflict in their country. 
Mary has a lot of hope for the future and she is convinced that she will be reimbursed for all she is doing now. “When my eight children finish their education, they will help me and I will be able to rest from the daily struggle I face now,” she says while grinding the maize for the family’s next meal. “Even though my life is very hard at the moment, my children are my hope.”

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About the author

Judith Schuler

Public Information Officer in Ethiopia

Judith Schuler worked as a Public Information Officer for the WFP Office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.