UNICEF’s humanitarian cash transfer renews a mother’s courage to give a bright future for her children
It has been five years now since Shume Geneti and her three daughters moved to Gimbi town of the Oromia region due to inter-ethnic conflict. Shume is a single mom. Her husband passed away several years ago when her two daughters were still little. Since then, she remains as a symbol of strength and stamina, overcoming barriers which she has been facing as a person with a disability, and raising her daughters by herself. While she works hard to get her life back together, UNICEF supported her with a cash grant so that she continues making an income by selling coffee and snacks. Here is her remarkable story.
Early morning after preparing breakfast for her family, Shume starts to roast coffee beans on a clay plate. While the aroma fills the area, Shume hopes to get the best out of the day. Next, she prepares snacks like fried biscuits that go along with coffee. She also makes the water purifier ready.
Freshly roasted coffee beans ready to be ground with traditional wooden mortar and pestle. Shume needs to get the balance of the roast just right so that her coffee tastes nice. She has stiff competition all around the neighbourhood. Many women make a living selling coffee on the roadside like her
As Shume gently pours her signature coffee into small cups, her customers begin to fill up the small veranda where small plastic stools are set in order. She serves everyone with a smile, coffee, snacks, tea and purified water.
“Life became difficult after we moved to Gimbi, as I lost my source of income,” says Shume “But I didn’t lose hope. I had to be strong to provide for my children.”
“Life became difficult after we moved to Gimbi, as I lost my source of income, but I didn’t lose hope. I had to be strong to provide for my children.”
While she kept a realm of courage, Shume received a small humanitarian cash grant from UNICEF. The humanitarian cash grant which is funded by FCDO is intended to support women like her to improve their livelihood.
“The moment I received this cash assistance from UNICEF, I immediately took the opportunity to expand my source of income,” says Shume with a huge smile on her face. She also made some savings and revamped her small business of making traditional coffee. Later, she started serving snacks and breakfast for her customers. Things began to improve for the good.
Most importantly, Shume is investing in her children’s future. Her firstborn Meti is a second-year college student, and her other daughter Tsion will be a senior in high school next year. Her last child Sifonet is in kindergarten.
“When I was a child, I always used to find a reason to go to the hospital compound where my aunt lived, and I used to passionately gaze at health workers in a white gowns and watch them help patients. Those are the moments that I promised myself that I will be a health care professional when I grow up,” says Meti with a dazzling smile on her face.
Meti is rejoicing that she can peruse her dreams, thanks to her mother. “My mom is my hero,” she says with mixed feelings. “, nothing could stop her from instilling values in me and making my dreams come true, she believes in overcoming barriers as a person with a physical disability.”
“My mom is my hero, nothing could stop her from instilling values in me and making my dreams come true."
While Meti is happy studying nursing, her younger sister Tsion is passionate about videography.
“I want to be a videographer because I am so eager to document my mother’s journey of life, all the struggles and wins she went through to raise us. And I know I will make it” says Tsion.
Shume defied the odds and beliefs about people living with disability and is certainly providing her children not only with their day to day needs but also fulfilling their dreams.