Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Ethiopia's landless young find hope and security in keeping bees

(Jan 08, 2014, (The Guardian))-- Farm Africa kickstarts bee colony project in Tigray to help villagers create businesses and avoid migratory exploitation. In the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, increasing numbers of young people have no access to the land and its resources. Farming land here is already scarce, and many farms are very small. Many young people risk their lives by migrating to countries in the Middle East to work in domestic servitude, while others are resigned to living in extreme poverty.

With no opportunities to work close to home, Gebre Egzaibher, 21, felt forced to take a dangerous job as a traditional gold miner close to the Eritrean border. He would stand for 18 hours a day in a river bed panning gold deposits for the equivalent of a £1 a day, and contend with occupational hazards, such as being shot at by Eritrean militias.

"I had no choice. My father was sick and my younger brothers and sisters had only one meal a day. I needed to work to support them," he says. As life expectancy increases the potential for sub-dividing plots of land reduces, leaving many of Ethiopia's young people with no assets and limited employment opportunities.

The issue of landless youth is fast becoming a national crisis in Ethiopia where 30% of young people are unemployed. In Gebre's hometown of Sero Tabia, where 2,200 families live, 560 young people are unemployed and have no access to land for earning a living.

The prospect of earning money in Middle Eastern countries as a domestic maid or as a construction worker has spurred many young Ethiopians overseas. But for some the dream has become a nightmare as employers exploit them and ignore their rights. Read more from The Guardian »

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