12:49 | 21st March 2019

World News: News

Thu 1 Dec, 2011
By Editor

Yet a year ago Belaynesh, a strong, healthy looking 37-year-old, and Dabe, her husband, were very sick

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Urban gardening project turning lives around
More than 1 million people are living with HIV and AIDS in Ethiopia. An innovative project run by a local NGO is part of the government's national plan for prevention, treatment and care

In her front garden, Belaynesh shows off her crop of Swiss chard, green pepper, sugar cane, green tomatoes and false banana, a plant unique to Ethiopia.

The plants in Belaynesh's small garden would be any allotment owner's delight. Fourteen growbags are lined neatly against the corrugated-iron fence, sprouting green shoots.

Her "urban gardening" has allowed her and her husband to not only feed their seven children, but also make enough cash to build a small barn where four cows are sheltering from the noonday sun.

Yet a year ago Belaynesh, a strong, healthy looking 37-year-old, and Dabe, her husband, were very sick. They were both HIV positive and Dabe was near death. "Thank God we are alive," she said.

The turnaround in the couple's lives has come through an innovative project run by an Ethiopian NGO, Ratson, founded by a former scientific researcher, turned community organiser, Moges Gorfe.

Gorfe set up Ratson five years ago, taking a 50% cut in salary after leaving Save the Children. His NGO is working with the UN's World Food Programme to teach urban gardening to people with HIV, under the WFP's Urban HIV and Aids Programme as part of the Ethiopian government's national plan for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care.

From The Guardain Global Development team

Article and Photography: Mark Tran


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