In the mountainous Hawassa region of Ethiopia, a local mother walks for three hours, carrying her young daughter and son to the Catholic medical clinic. The children are acutely malnourished due to a lack of access to regular healthy food, and Yennesh, their mother, has been turned away at multiple clinics because she does not have the money to pay. If she cannot find help soon, the children will be in great danger.
The Bushulo Health Centre is run by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary and was there for Yennesh and her young family ten years ago at their hour of need. They took the family in, provided immediate nutritional care, and set them on a path to healthy living, saving the lives of infant siblings Yesh and Girma.
Yennesh and her husband—who is often required to travel for work—were encouraged to join the the centre’s community garden project. Observing local custom, women from the Hawassa region are brought together to support each other and taught how to till the land to grow leafy green vegetables, beetroots, carrots and cabbages. To date, over forty families, including Yennesh and her husband Markos, have successfully participated in the project. The results have been astoundingly positive. Of the forty families who have completed the training, only one family still requires ongoing medical support for their child.
In addition to this life-enriching program, the sisters also provide critical outreach services to local families unable to reach the centre and its garden, providing free treatment and nutritional aid. These initiatives have saved countless lives.