Shewit's Story

Conflict and crisis in Tigray

Conflict in Tigray

ShelterBox is delivering emergency shelter to people displaced by conflict in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia. Most displaced people are living in schools, staying in host communities, sleeping on dusty floors in abandoned buildings, or sleeping outside. Living conditions are crowded, and people are vulnerable to COVID-19, or at risk of pneumonia and malaria as the rainy season approaches. There is a deepening humanitarian crisis here, which has been driven by the conflict and made worse by severe food shortages and the constant threat of coronavirus.

Shewit's Journey

32-year-old Shewit and her four children have been displaced by this horrific conflict. Before arriving at the displacement site, Shewit was a teacher – “I enjoyed teaching a lot. I have always been good with children as a mum myself.”

When the moment came that her family were forced to flee, Shewit was busy at work – “I was in the middle of teaching when the fighting broke out. I took what I could but most importantly, I rushed to get my kids and fled.”

The next five days were frightening. Shewit and her young children were forced to walk 80km to find a safer place to shelter. “We walked for five days,I was concerned about surviving, like all of those who fled.”

Shewit smiling in front of a shetler in the displacement camp

Recovery in a Displacement Camp

Shewit and another woman sit on the ground inside the displacement shelter.

Four months have now passed, and Shewit explained, “with the new shelter provided by IOM and ShelterBox, our living conditions have improved a lot. We do not have to sit outside and fear for our safety anymore.”

Shewit described she was feeling “grateful and at ease” when collecting the aid items, and has found the most useful aid items to be the “cooking materials and the shelter because my children and I need to eat everyday, even when it is hard to find food sometimes. The shelter protects us from the sun and also from the rain.” Shewit also added comfortable beds and blankets to make the shelter feel more like home.

Shewit said she was anxious of the fear of the unknown. “Arriving here, I am scared that like other IDP sites, this one where we live will close and we will find ourselves scrambling to find a new home again. Will we able to come back to our old, peaceful lives, and if we do, will I still have my old job?” These unanswered questions are naturally a big concern for Shewit.

Supporting Women

Despite the insecurity and horrific circumstances this family have faced, Shewit continues to care for those around her. On a daily basis Shewit not only cares for her children, but is also a leader of the Women’s Committee in the displacement camp site. This group represents all the women, making sure that their concerns are heard and shared to responding groups and organisations.

Learn More

The Forgotten Crises: Five things you need to know about Tigray

Ethiopia is experiencing one of the world’s gravest humanitarian crises, with over 4.5 million people in desperate need of assistance. Here are the five things you should know.

Ethiopia Conflict

Ongoing crisis in Tigray has forced thousands to flee their homes.