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Drought, famine and civil war have taken its toll on Ethiopian families. With life expectancy low, high illiteracy and widespread poverty, opportunities for many Ethiopian children are limited. We provide a happy, healthy start in life for children in seven locations throughout Ethiopia. … more about our charity work in Ethiopia

Donkey carts provide a lifeline for families in Ethiopia

Donkey carts enable families to make a living
Donkey carts enable families to make a living

As part of the SOS East Africa Emergency Relief Programme, 100 families in Gode, Ethiopia, have been given donkey carts, enabling them to fetch precious water and recover from the drought.

Gode is in the South-Eastern Somali Region of Ethiopia, a hot and arid area. During 2011, the worst drought in over 60 years hit the country and water became even more of a precious commodity

Within Gode, the Shebelle River is the best available water source. However, many people have no means to transport the water to their homes themselves. They buy from water sellers who collect the water and deliver it for a small price to the community. 

As part of the Emergency Relief Programme in Gode, SOS Children have provided donkey carts to the most vulnerable families, so that they can collect their own water and sell surplus, enabling them start generating a small income and support their families.

SOS Children started distributing the first donkey carts in December 2011, and have now given out 100 carts. According to Mustafa Haji, the Director of the SOS Children’s Village in Gode, they are used for multiple purposes. These include the delivery and sale of water, but also the transportation of firewood, grass, charcoal and construction materials. They can even be used as transport for old and sick people.

Donkey carts help Ardi rebuild her life


Ardi has six children, aged from five to twelve. Since her husband left the family, she has been forced to look after and feed her family independently. She used to be a road cleaner until the department was downsized and she lost her job.

As one of the first recipients of an SOS donkey cart, Ardi uses it to fetch water from the Shebelle River five times a day, selling it on, and making a daily profit of around 50 Birr (about USD 3). She uses the money to buy necessities such as food, and pay school fees so her children can receive an education. "Before I had the donkey cart", Ardi says, "I could not buy school books for my children. Now that I have an income I have been able to buy these things."

Read more about our Emergency Relief Programme in East Africa

How you can help


We need your help to ensure we can continue to reach vulnerable children and families in Ethiopia, and across East Africa.

Regular donations give us money we can rely on and support us to stay in the affected countries as long as it takes to rebuild lives. You can also support our work in East Africa by making a one-off donation directly to our Emergency Relief Programme.