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Sesen’s story
Aybeto village, Ethiopia

Sesen Mehari is around 40 years old and has four children. She lives in the village of Aybeto where there is no source of clean water. She has to walk for an hour to collect water from an unsafe source which is used by many people in the area. Sesen knows the water isn’t clean but she has no other choice.

Sesen goes to the river twice a day for water. She will often have to stop working to go and collect water as it takes so long. To make a living, Sesen makes dresses to sell. When there is water to collect she has to stop work and if she doesn’t finish her sewing on time, she won’t get paid on time. When this happens she doesn’t have enough money to buy food for her children and she must borrow money just to feed her family.

Sesen from Ethiopia sitting on a bed

Sesen wants her children to go to school, which is an hour away. She says, “I would love for my children to have good health and good hygiene and just to have a good life. Just to be able to wash their uniforms, clothes and bodies properly. Now I will maybe wash their clothes and bodies once a week.” If Sesen’s children went to collect water instead, they would not be able to go to school.

Sesen says, “We are faced with lots of problems. It is hard on our legs and backs. We have to walk many kilometres. Even if people are old and pregnant, if they don’t have another choice they will collect water here. Sometimes the men will help if women are pregnant.”

Find out more about the water crisis in Ethiopia >