Hassena Hussen Nuha

At age 11, Hassena Hussen Nuha lived with her mother, two brothers, and two sisters near Amuli in the Afar Region of Ethiopia. She is the eldest child in the family and her father had died.

Hassena started attending school in 2008, a direct result of Support for Sustainable Development (SSD) starting the Alelesubula irrigation project. The project allowed her family to cultivate a 0.25-hectare plot of irrigable land and become food-self-sufficient.

These development projects are truly life changing. The people are no longer trapped in the endless cycle of poverty.

Hassena’s normal life path (if not for the water diversion project provided by SSD, Canadian Lutheran World Relief, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, and the Westlock Growing Project) would have included being subjected to female circumcision. But within a short time of arriving in the area, SSD stopped this harmful practice through education and persuasion. Without their intervention, Hassena would also have been offered up for marriage at 10 to 12 years old. She would never have gone to school.

Now, because of the economic stability afforded by the irrigation project, Hassena is going to school. She can better choose when to get married, will have a vocation if she cares to pursue one, and is learning about healthcare and nutrition—knowledge she can share with her family!

These development projects are truly life changing. SSD teaches the new farmers what to grow and how to care for, harvest, and market their crops. Secondary development such as schools, health clinics, and government outreach follows the settlement of the people.

The demand for the produce from the new farms is constant. Where else would one buy bananas in the vast, dry Danikil Desert? The market comes to the farms and pays top price for the harvests. The local economy grows and brings demand for more goods and services. The people are no longer trapped in the endless cycle of poverty, the children are being educated, and the future is bright. 

We have been able to help thousands of girls like Hassena. Thanks to these projects, more Ethiopian girls have hope and a much brighter future.

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