A colonial mindset’: why global aid agencies need to get out of the way

Before civil war engulfed her Ethiopian home region of Tigray in 2020, Tsega Girma was a prosperous trader who sold stationery and other goods. But when hungry children displaced by the conflict started appearing in the streets, she sold everything and used the proceeds to buy them food.

After that money dried up, Tsega appealed to Tigray’s diaspora for donations. At the height of the war, her Emahoy Tsega Girma Charity Foundation provided meals to 24,000 children a day.

Today, more than a year after the conflict ended, it still feeds 5,000 children who cannot return home because of lingering insecurity.

All the food is bought locally and prepared by volunteers in the grounds of a disused library. “It is emergency work,” Tsega says. “We are doing this simply to keep them alive.”


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