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The Etawantaw family Live Below the Line in Burkina Faso

Christian Aid - UK - Thu, 3 May 2012 13:46 GMT
Author: Christian Aid
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The Etawantaw family live in Tin’Akoff, a village in the far north-east of Burkina Faso, five kilometres from the border with Mali. This region is known as the Sahel. It is dry and dusty for most of the year. As it is hard to grow food, most people who live here are pastoralists, raising cattle, goats and sheep. The region is plagued by regular droughts. In 2011, the rains failed again. As a result harvests were lost and there is a major food shortage for both people and livestock. People in this region mainly eat millet, sorghum and meat.

Tahya has five daughters. She and her husband used to have 50 cows and goats. They lost many of their animals over the last five years due to drought and sickness. The rest they have had to sell to buy food to survive. This year they have no animals left to sell and no form of income to buy food.

“To be able to provide for my children, I have to go out and beg for food from others. Or I depend on my neighbours for food. If the children don’t eat at the neighbours, they eat nothing.”

Some families like Tahya’s have had to resort to boiling up the leaves of wild thorn bushes or the bulbs of lilies from a reservoir nearby.  Both are poisonous and cause health problems, especially for the children.

The failed harvests have caused a major increase in the price of food this year. 100kg of millet costs £37, which is double what it cost at the same time in the previous year.  Even if Tahya had some money, buying millet at this price would be prohibitively expensive.

Christian Aid partner ATAD which works in the region has started delivering food relief to vulnerable families like Tahya’s to prevent the current crisis developing into a famine.

Join thousands of people across the UK this May (7-11) Living Below the Line for Christian Aid to raise money and awareness of the 1.4 billion people who live below the poverty line every day.

The money you raise through sponsorship will help people like Tahya Wellet Etawantaw in Burkina Faso to help themselves out of poverty.

For more information please visit


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