Haregewoyne is a 21-year-old mother of a beautiful seven-month-old baby boy.
The former secondary school English teacher lived happily with her husband in Kolla Temben, Tigray, in northern Ethiopia until armed conflict broke out and changed her life.
Haregewoyne loved her job because it gave her the opportunity to shape the minds of her young students.
She felt blessed when she became a mother for the first time last October. She called her son Biruk, meaning ‘the blessed one.’ Surrounded by friends, family and neighbours it was a wonderful period for Haregewoyne. The community visited to congratulate her, bless the newborn and provide her with nutritious foods and support.
But for Haregewoyne the joy of becoming a mother was short lived.
Conflict broke out shortly after she gave birth and she was forced to flee her home. A week later she returned hoping that things would have calmed down. But there was no sign of her husband or parents. And most of the community has disappeared.
Fearful for her safety and the health of Biruk she decided to leave her home once again. Haregewoyne made the long journey to Mekele, the capital of Tigray, in search of support.
Once there she found safe haven at a temporary internally displaced persons (IDP) camp. GOAL teams have set up in a local school where they are providing assistance to families fleeing the conflict.
“I don’t know how I made it here. I am amazed that my baby survived the journey,” Haregewoyne says.
International aid agencies and the local government are supporting Haregewoyne and her baby with food and shelter. GOAL teams have provided her with blankets, cooking materials and a hygiene kit. Haregewoyne is also receiving financial support to help care for baby Biruk.
“Biruk was suffering from malnutrition when we reached this camp. But now he is doing well with the support we are receiving from GOAL”, Haregewoyne says.
As a teacher she says it is ironic that she found safe haven in a school. The classroom is normally home to her students’ curiosity and laughter. It’s now providing hope and refuge for dozens of families like Haregewoyne’s.
Haregewoyne still doesn’t know where her husband and family are. She hopes they are alive and well and that she will be reunited with them soon.
“All we need is peace and to be able to go back home to our former life,” Haregewoyne tells us.
You can support families like Haregewoyne’s with a donation today.