Optimism Despite Prevalence of Poverty

May 20 , 2023
By Eden Sahle

I met a new mother out on the rainy street of Addis Abeba with her infant. She was selling vegetables and roasted corn under a plastic cover to shield themselves from the pouring rain.

She gets up early in the morning to buy vegetables and corn from wholesalers. Whether the family eats or not depends on the income of the day as she stays out on the streets but often goes home with little profit or no sales on some occasions.

Next to the lady were many others vending similar items while their dresses were wet and their slippers soaked.

It is heartbreaking to watch these women suffer to feed their families. Most of them are widows and single mothers with young children. Their lives are filled with traumas and no form of support.

Most of them live in a dilapidated narrow room made of iron sheets. The houses are constructed without getting permission from the district office, which translates to no electricity, water supply and toilet. Their children attempt to study at night using street lights and candles. Bathing is a luxury which may happen once in several weeks, fetched from people with pipelines.

They are content if they find their house in one piece at the end of each day. Eviction is one of their many fears as officials from the city administration may show up anytime. It is an unpleasant experience they happen to go through multiple times, leaving their belongings and iron sheets behind.

These events do not make envisioning a bright future likely for the children. They are enduring adversities with their mothers, who are doing everything they can to sustain their lives. They are living in constant fear of losing their sole parent or little of what they have.

The prevalence of poverty is apparent in Ethiopia. UNDP’s simulation analysis indicates that poverty has risen due to the shocks and the rising cost of living, especially for food. It has impacted urban and war-affected areas the most.

For someone observing from afar, these ladies have all the right reasons to have a mental breakdown. But these women have developed into stronger individuals despite their circumstances. They have a greater appreciation for life. Their families smile at customers as if everything is going smoothly.

The mothers believe that the work they put in due to hardships makes them stronger. They acknowledge that trauma does not steal their hope for a better future and have created an incredible narrative around their tragedies that could lead them out of poverty and into greater hope.

The ability to manage their emotions and understand the feelings of people around them has led to a great relationship with their children. They have a resource-empty home but the joy and laughter are palpable.

They do not try to make sense of their difficulties and brutal traumas. While they do not praise poverty they say it has allowed them to develop optimism and resilience.

Mealtimes are big celebrations and gratitude times. Although uncertain, their home, filled with love and gratitude, is inspiring. Proof that happiness is not attained by ticking off a list of accomplishments or possessions.

These women have chosen to appreciate and accept their lives and focus on what they can control. They are determined to end generational poverty by sending their children to school.

The children are motivated and encouraged to take their education seriously as it holds the solution to their misery, working hard to dig their way out of poverty.

People must develop a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the present moment, allowing them to experience happiness even in the most painful times. It does not mean praising poverty but developing optimism and resilience from the tough experience.

PUBLISHED ON May 20,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1203]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at edensah2000@gmail.com.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Put your comments here

N.B: A submit button will appear once you fill out all the required fields.

Editors' Pick


Fortune news