Gifts in action

Lambs and school

Photo: Eva-Lotta Jansson/Oxfam America

What do sheep and goats have to do with ensuring that some Ethiopian girls can get an education? Everything. In a recovery project in the West Arsi Zone of Ethiopia, Oxfam America and its local partner, the Center for Development Initiatives gave goats and sheep to 114 school girls and their parents. The ruminants are like money in the bank: They reproduce quickly and their offspring can be sold, providing parents with cash—to pay for their daughters’ school materials.

In a region where the education of girls is not a priority, especially when money is tight in a household, this initiative is designed to encourage their continued enrollment in school. For 16-year-old Durete Abulla of Ilancho, the pair of sheep she and her parents received has given her hope that she can continue studying her favorite subjects—English and biology. And in a good omen of what’s to come, one of the sheep has already given birth to a pair of lambs.

“I hope that she will not get married early and she completes all levels of education and becomes someone great,” says her mother, who never had a chance to go to school herself and relies on Durete to read important documents to her.

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