CHANGE- such a simple six-lettered word, is it not?

The word CHANGE, though, is anything but simple; it has different levels of meanings, and every citizen of this earth has been affected by change. What matters is whether we accept it or stand up against it.

As a global citizen, here’s the change I wish to see in the global community. I currently live in Canada so let’s take a trip using Google Maps to the other half of the world. Landed in Africa, yet? Good- now let’s zoom into the heart of Ethiopia… keep zooming in until you reach the town of Assassa. Are you there yet? Fantastic- now let’s zoom in completely so that you get a street view of the town. What do you see?

It’s not a pretty sight. Beggars and the disabled litter the streets like garbage. Young girls and old women who have flocked to Assassa from the surrounding countryside are either carrying babies or loads of goods on their backs.

Let’s take a closer look at the young girls and old women. One might think that as they flock to Assassa from the countryside for the day, they might very well be flocking away from their lifestyle at home; brutal and abusive. Many women in the countryside are abused by their fathers, and then handed over in marriage to be abused by their husbands. My own grandmother is a victim of abuse; married early in age, she was beaten constantly and gave birth to her second child on her own in a hut for three days, with no one to help her. Many a times did my grandmother try to run away from the abuse, fleeing far into the desert to commit suicide, only to frantically run back to her children.

Abusing women is an old age custom in the Arsi-Oromo culture. Though it has declined over the years, there are still many women in the countryside who endure torturous abuse. In fact, I know of Oromos who have immigrated to North America and have actually brought the custom here with them, burning their wives with cigarettes and knocking their teeth out.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I have chosen to make a change in the community by standing up to those who practice this abusive custom. The main challenge is explaining why abuse is wrong; there’s a cultural mentality and narrow mindedness set in the minds of the men who commit this crime. It’s hard, arduous, and even dangerous to work around that mentality and shed light on the issue.

The solution to this challenge: SUPPORT.

I need a venue in which I can express ideas. I need a platform on which I can raise awareness. I need a network of individuals who are willing to lend a helping hand in empowering women who have endured brutal abuse all their lives. This is all World Pulse in action- it is indeed an online community that provides the most powerful tool in creating change: a network of people who listen, care, and most of all, act.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Challenges and Solutions to Creating Change.

Comment on this Post


THANK YOU STELLA! There's nothing stopping us from making change in the global community... and no matter how dark the tunnel is, there will be light at the end waiting for us!

Better get your voice amped up for cheering and yelling! We're going to need all the voices we can get. :)

Peace, Dharra

Thank you Rocio! For sure, everyone needs a helping hand from everyone, just as everyone needs a shoulder to cry on. Humanity is the largest of networks... we need to get back to our roots and connect and help one another to make change.

Thank you for your support!

Peace, Dharra

Dharra, I'm really touched by the story of your grandmother. She must be such a strong woman that she survived this horrible experiences. Fighting or rather changing this culture of violence againts women is crucial! Looking forward to reading more from you! All the best, Katharina

Oh Katharina, my grandmother is the most amazing woman in my life, and the most amazing woman I probably will ever meet. Even after all the crap- for lack of a better word- she's been through, she still has the ability to smile, to laugh, and to provide help for the needy in Assassa. She is such a strong woman.

Thank you for your kind words Katharina! Indeed, it is crucial to fight against the culture of violence against women. 'Tis the reason as to why I've applied for VOF... to raise awareness and receive help. :)

Thank you!

Cheers, Dharra


I really got a sense of the difficulties that women face in the Arsi-Oromo culture and I really enjoyed the way you took us there through the camera lens. I am wondering how living in Canada is affecting your daily interactions with your native culture?

You will definitely find support, energy, and solutions minded global citizens here.

Keep writing - your voice is creative and engaging!

  • Laura

Thanks so much for your support!

In terms of my daily interactions with my culture... it's been quite limited until recently because I've been trying to get involved more with the Oromo community. I was born and raised in Toronto and grew up not knowing much about my culture. Part of that was due to my childish ignorance, the other part was that there was no 'pride' in being Oromo. I very much felt like a Canadian- and no one in the Oromo community at that time tried to ENGAGE oromo youth in activities in learning about our culture. I lived in Ethiopia for a year (skipped 9th grade) and I got a huge culture shock; that was when I began to become more aware of our culture and our people and our values.

I've begun asking members of the Oromo community in VAncouver to not just focus on politics at their monthly meetings, but to also focus on female empowerment, education, and most importantly engaging oromo youth. It's been well-received, and the community is trying to implement my suggestions into their priorities set list.

So far, being born and living in Canada whilst the rest of my humongous family hails from Ethiopia has provided me with an odd combo of Western thinking and a cultural awareness of Oromo values. Sometimes these two clash and don't go hand in hand... but it usually works out fairly OK :)

Thanks Laura!

Dharra :)