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GBV Survivor supported to restore her life

December 16th, 2022

Mekdes* experienced a traumatic ordeal when the conflict in the northern part of Ethiopia began. Thereafter, her medical situation put her life at risk. Luckily, she was referred to the emergency response project team who were able to support her medical, psychological, and financial needs.

Mekdes plaiting hair in her salon

Mekdes survival and restoration story

Mekdes* is a 25-year-old married woman who lived in Karakore Kebele in the North Shoa Zone of Amhara regional state with her daughter and husband. Mekdes works as a hairdresser to support her family. Life was good for her up until the conflict erupted.

Following the start of the conflict in the northern part of Ethiopia, her husband joined a pro government militia. Sadly, he was wounded and died after a month. When armed forces, fighting against the federal government, took control of her village, they tortured and sexually exploited her for several days because she was a wife of a militia man. They also took all her money and destroyed all her work equipment. She was extremely sad and full of despair.

After a few weeks, Mekdes found out that she was pregnant with a child from one of the perpetrators. She tried to abort the pregnancy with traditional medicine as she didn’t want to have a child after her incident and also due to fear of stigma.

Unfortunately, her attempt was unsuccessful and the medicine she took left her with a severe medical condition and in a serious state of psychological trauma. When finally, she had the baby, she couldn't breastfeed him and she couldn't afford powdered milk, leaving the child in a life-threatening condition. It was in this condition that Mekdes was referred to Terre des Hommes Netherlands in February 2022. The team was providing support to communities affected by the conflict through child protection and gender based violence prevention and response programme activities with the objective of ensuring a safe living environment for children, women and girls.

After conducting the appropriate assessment of her and her child’s needs, Terre des Hommes  Netherlands team developed a plan to respond to her medical, emotional, and financial needs through a coordinated case management process. Based on the care plan, she was referred to a one-stop center for medical support, with TdH NL covering the costs including transportation and accommodation for her and a relative who accompanied her. Also, she was supported financially through IPA (individual protection assistance) to ensure that protection issues do not arise in emergency situations.

In addition, she received continuous psychosocial support from a dedicated TdH NL Psychosocial Officer who visited her often, while she received cash support under Individual Protection Assistance (IPA) to respond to her and her child’s economic needs. 

Currently, Mekdes reports that she is in a much better condition due to the support she received and that she can give better care for her child as she is in better health both physically and psychologically. We will continue to support more women affected by conflict to restore their lives.

Learn more about the Humanitarian Rapid Response Project in Ethiopia
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