Refuge after fleeing violence

hewit, a former teacher displaced by the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. IOM/Kaye Viray

Ethiopia | 2021 | CBPF

Ethiopia, Shire. “I was in the middle of teaching my class when we heard gunshots and explosions. I had to calm myself down and make sure all my students were safe,” recalls Semira*, a former teacher who fled the conflict in Tigray.

A mother of four children, ‘Teacher Semira’ as she is known, shared her story. “We walked for five days to reach Shire, in search of safety. When we arrived, the host community was welcoming and provided us with some  injera (traditional flatbread) and water, among other things. However, we had to sleep under trees for the first few days as we had no shelter – I feared for our safety all the time.”

With CERF funding, IOM, alongside other partners, provided Semira’s family and others like hers with shelter, basic household items and other support crucial for their survival. Despite the drastic changes to her family’s situation, she refuses to dwell on their difficulties. “I am grateful for this shelter, for everything. Life has not been easy since we left, but I’ve learned not to take anything for granted.”

Public buildings, including schools, across the Tigray region have served as emergency housing for people as they fled the conflict. At the height of the conflict access to the region was limited, but by mid-April IOM’s Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) team were able to initiate camp management activities.

Thanks to these efforts, families like Semira’s no longer need to sleep out in the open. While they wait until it is safe to return home, they can rest more peacefully with, at the very least, a makeshift roof over their heads.

Original story (International Organization for Migration)

More information on the Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund:

*Name changed for privacy and protection.