International Women's Day Profile - Alimitu Tesfaye, Spice Grinder

We have the pleasure of working with so many fabulous women. In honour of International Women’s Day, this month we will feature three incredible Ethiopian women with whom we work. Today we introduce Alimitu Tesfaye, a member of the Spice Grinder project.

It was such a pleasure for our team in Ethiopia to be invited into Alimitu’s home for a snack and a chat. She was so welcoming, and inspiring, too!

Her home is a mud building made up of two main rooms – a sitting area and a bedroom – plus a small room for cooking over a fire. There is also an area that acts as a stable for her livestock to ensure they're not stolen at night. A radio dangled from one doorway; Alimitu said she likes to listen to South Radio, a station whose programming covers the southern part of Ethiopia.

The walls were painted bright blue and yellow. A bible verse had been painted around the room: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Her home was built six years ago. Before that, Alimitu and her husband lived in a thatched roof hut and life was very difficult.

“Even the rain could easily get into the house. So it was difficult,” she said. “But now we are here.”

Alimitu was so proud to invite us into her home and show us around. It was immaculately kept and even the dirt floors were clean. 

These days Alimitu takes care of her three children – 14, 11 and 8 years old – and her in-laws while her husband works selling cattle out of town. In addition to the daily work of running a household, she sells corn and other grains at the market, and she fetches water from a well in the town of Boditi, about an hour walk from her home.

“Every three days we will fill four or five cans. We take a donkey to help carry the water,” Alimitu, 35, told us.

She’s a part of Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia’s Spice Grinder project, and it’s clear that Alimitu is a very dedicated and committed member of the group.

She told us that all the money made at the spice grinder flows directly into an account for the group. All the women agreed that they wouldn’t make individual withdrawals until they’ve been able to expand the project and grow their profits.

“We save all the money as a contingency and also for maintenance, but there is no personal benefit,” she said. “Once we get more income, we can start to have personal profit.”

Alimitu went to school up until Grade 7. Now, all of her children are in school. It’s her dream that they will complete their education.

“My wish is for my children to graduate and to support themselves,” she said.

Alimitu – we salute you for your hard work, your positive attitude, and your kind and generous spirit. Thank you for inviting us in to your home and sharing a piece of your life with us.