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Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
  
3 November 2016
Greg Kandra




Rahel Zewde, 13, is sustained by CNEWA’s food program — and by her faith.
(photo: Petterik Wiggers.)


Heroism comes in many sizes and ages — and sometimes, it can be very young. Consider Rahel Zewde, for example, a 13-year-old girl from Ethiopia who every day battles hunger in a land blighted by drought.

Despite everything, though, she is nourished by her faith:

One student, 13-year-old Rahel Zewde, only rarely has the chance to eat meat — it is a luxury usually reserved for major religious celebrations, such as Christmas and Easter, she says, looking away shyly and biting the neckline of her thin green and black hoodie. She adds she “sometimes” eats breakfast.

Rahel lives close by with four younger brothers and her single mother — her father left them for another family — in a compound belonging to extended family. With the two main buildings bolted shut, Rahel’s family occupies a corner screened from the sun but open to the elements, and sleeps under sacking on the stone floor.

When Rahel returns from school, she collects water and firewood, and looks after her brothers when her mother is away.

Sustaining Rahel in this delicate balance is her faith. “I pray to Mary, and ask her to save me from bad things,” she says.

Rahel is one of many receiving help through CNEWA’s food programs — which to date have helped feed more than 8,000 children in 24 Catholic schools in the Horn of Africa.

Learn more — and learn how you can help children like Rahel here.