Supporting Mothers Displaced by Conflict in Ethiopia: Misikir's Story - GOAL Global Skip to content

Supporting Mothers Displaced by Conflict in Ethiopia: Misikir’s Story


January 25, 2024 • 2 min read

At 38 years old, Misikir was a thriving businesswoman. She was known in her community for her busy farm, quaint countryside snack house, and small flour mill. However, her life was shattered overnight. Her village was located in West Shewa, a region of western Ethiopia where armed conflict between insurgency groups and government forces is currently taking place. Innocent civilians, like Misikir, are often caught in the crossfire.

Lives shattered by conflict

When the conflict spread to her village, Misikir was forced to abandon the life she had worked so hard to build for herself. She feared for her own life and for that of her unborn child. Amidst the chaos and turmoil, Misikir found herself in a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Debre Birhan, a small city on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. 30,000 IDPs live in Debre Birhan. The influx has placed significant pressure on local healthcare services, but GOAL’s mobile health teams work within the camp to provide vital medical care to IDPs in need, including pregnant women and mothers displaced by conflict.

When Misikir arrived, she was eight months pregnant. Far from her family and the familiar surroundings of her village, Misikir gave birth to her son. “My situation was heart-breaking,” she recalls. “I was still in shock when I gave birth…I couldn’t even process what had happened. I couldn’t eat or drink, so I was unable to breastfeed my baby properly.” Misikir nearly lost all hope.

Hope restored

When GOAL staff working in the camp realised that Misikir and her baby were malnourished, they leapt into action. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. Through consistent medical care and psychosocial support, Misikir and her child began to recover – physically and emotionally. “I did not think that my child would survive,” Misikir explains. “I was heartbroken. Had it not been for the treatment and follow-up care we received from GOAL, you would not find us here today.”

Even though she lost her home and her business, Misikir’s dreams extend beyond the camp’s boundaries. She looks forward to a brighter future and hopes to be relocated to a safe location soon. With proper support, she’s certain that hard work and commitment will enable her to rebuild her life.  She hopes that other mothers displaced by conflict in Ethiopia can receive the same support.

Tesfaye Getahun, a GOAL programme manager, echoes these sentiments, saying: “Over thirty thousand IDPs are living in six camps in Debre Birhan, and as a humanitarian, we are doing our best to save lives and provide assistance for displaced people such as Misikir. We are grateful to the UN Ethiopian Humanitarian Fund and other donors who are committed to supporting our IDPs.”

Misikir and her healthy, happy baby