Ethiopian begashaw Major cities in Ethiopia, particularly the capital Addis Abeba, which hosts 30 per cent of the country’s urban population, according to UN Habitat, are known to be crucibles of staggering contrasts where the two extremities of poverty and wealth are evident
Inequality in Ethiopia is largely an urban problem. Because of the more or less egalitarian land distribution, income inequality in rural areas is low as compared to urban areas, the assessment report added.
Starving in Addis Abeba
Misrak Chora Elementary is a public school located in Yeka Sub-city in the capital where the majority of its students come from low income families residing in the area known as Shola. Some families who send their children to the school live under extreme poverty that at times they can’t afford to provide food for their children. An alarming report in a local FM radio station aired in early 2015 revealed the story of school children who collapsed while attending lessons because of what was later discovered to be hunger.
Extreme poverty in the midst of a sprawling Addis
Dereje Hailu is an eighth grader at the school and head of the students’ media services. He recalled what happened with a grim look stamped on his face. “I don’t exactly remember when it started happening. But younger students, those that were under grade 4, started collapsing and at some point it became a common occurrence. They pass out because they come to school without having breakfast. Most of the time they said they hadn’t had dinner on the previous night as well”, he told this magazine.
The parents of many of those students are street beggars relying on alms to support their families according to Dereje. Other parents are occasionally employed in informal and often meager paying jobs such as washing clothes; they lack permanent jobs and stable means of income. Dereje said that there haven’t been any such cases in the school in this academic year which is way into its fourth month. While some children from extremely poor parents have received support from non-governmental organization, Dereje says he personally knows other students who have quit school.