For years, Emebet’s family struggled to make ends meet. Her husband worked as a weaver, which was very difficult and physically intense work and only provided enough money for their family to scrape by. Over time, Emebet’s husband became very sick, lost his job, and could no longer support the family.
Emebet tried to start a business on her own, but the business failed, as she was not properly equipped with the knowledge or kickstart needed. With an ailing husband and seven children, Emebet and her family were very vulnerable.
Emebet heard of The Family Business Program in her village and immediately applied! Her potential was immediately realized, and she was selected to enroll! Emebet, determined to succeed, went through the program and opened a mini-shop in her neighborhood.
She saw immediate success and increased her income exponentially! Her business did so well that she began to invest in an iqub – a community savings group of 5 or 6 individuals- essentially a revolving investment fund. After five months of running the mini-shop and contributing to the iqub, Emebet was able to use the revolving fund to start a small restaurant. Emebet hired her husband to run the mini-shop while she focused on the restaurant.
Before empowerment, Emebet and her husband lived on less than $2 per day. They could not provide daily food for the family. Today, her daily profit between the two businesses is around $9 US per day – well over $216 per month in profit and a 450% increase in income. In addition, Emebet has two paid employees and continues to invest in her iqub.
So, what does this increased income mean for Emebet? Her husband is now healthy, as they could afford the health care he needed, and he has a job (working for Emebet) that is much less physically taxing. She can send her five children to school without help from the outside. Not only that, but she also supports 5 children in the community who formerly lived on the street by providing housing for them and paying their school fees and other basic needs.
“It is our culture as Ethiopians to share what we have with other people. So I started sharing.”
Emebet also uses her skills and experience to inspire others; she now prepares the food for our Family Business training. A few weeks ago, we witnessed 29 women undergo an all-day business management training. Emebet provided lunch for all of them and shared her story with all of these women to give them confidence and a first-hand look into their future.
So many vulnerable families just need a boost – a tiny spark to ignite their hope. That’s exactly what our Family Business Program is. In the future, Emebet dreams of opening a small hotel to help even more people. She said, “the more families we help will spread self-sufficiency, which will change our community.”
We are so inspired by Emebet’s hard work and heart of gold. Not only has she been impacted, but she has impacted so many members of her community. We cannot wait to see how Emebet and her family continue to succeed in the future.