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Ethiopia: ‘We need psychosocial help like we need water’

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Эфиопия
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After her home caught fire in her sleep, Hawa developed emotional stress and feared for her family’s safety. Psychosocial support from Humanity & Inclusion has helped her find peace of mind.

Hawa, 40, is a single mother to eight children. The family lives in a one-room household and depend on Hawa as their sole provider and caretaker.

“Hawa’s home once caught fire while she and her family were inside sleeping,” says Zelalem Ketema, Humanity & Inclusion’s project manager in Ethiopia. “They made it out alive—but before receiving support from Humanity & Inclusion, she had frequent nightmares and didn’t trust anyone new, as she thought they were trying to hurt her family. She was quiet and preferred to be alone. On occasion, she was even aggressive. She would carry her children out of the house on her back and guard them with a stick for defense.”

Accessing mental health support

With help from Humanity & Inclusion, Hawa received psychosocial support, including individual counseling, group consultations and psychosocial education sessions. She also received essential items such as laundry detergent, body soap, jerrycans, a basin and a 5-gallon bucket for her family.

Hawa says that individual counseling services saved her life and her situation has improved. She gradually began to interact with other people and develop a sense of trust for them.

“After receiving individual and group counseling, a significant change in my life occurred,” Hawa explains. “I used to believe that psychosocial support was just a joke, but now I see that it is medicine for people like me. My counselor once told me that we need psychosocial help like we need water daily. I really believe this is true, since the support has transformed me into a mother who cares for her children without worry. I now communicate with others, trust them, and send the kids to school.”

Hawa also attends group counseling sessions and shares her story to help people in the community with similar situations.

“The advice I give to community members who experience similar incidents is to seek information from the Humanity & Inclusion team, particularly psychosocial support,” she continues. “I am happy to help anyone in the same way that Humanity & Inclusion has helped me.”