These are the words and motto of Aschalew Abebe and his team in Ethiopia. They work tirelessly to support the local community by empowering families to thrive. Their empowerment program creates ripple effects outward into the entire community, not only keeping families together but also supporting the growth and flourishing of the entire community itself. Just sending one family through the program can impact the lives of dozens more families! Family preservation, orphan prevention, and sustainability are the heart behind the program, and the results are a beautiful display of communities rallying together to bring change and hope to those all around them!
To learn more about the Family Empowerment Program, click HERE
Below is a story of that beauty; of how a single family lifted themselves up and created those very ripple effects that will change their community for generations to come!
Emebet Alemayehu — She served us coffee as we sat in her mini-restaurant.
Emebet is married and has 7 children! Her husband was a weaver…this is very difficult and physically intense work. You are forced to sit at your station all day, crouched over. Kidney disease is a common side effect of this work. Emebet’s husband became very sick and lost his job. Emebet tried to start a business on her own, selling njera, a spongey sourdough staple of the Ethiopian diet. She failed because she didn’t haven’t the knowledge or the kickstart that she needed. With a sick husband and 7 children, Emebet and her family were desperate.
Thankfully, she was selected by our local leaders to be enrolled in our Family Empowerment Program, a 7-step road to sustainability. Emebet went through the program and opened a mini-shop in her neighborhood. She did well and began to invest in an iqub, a community savings group that is basically a revolving investment fund. After 5 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 could not even provide daily food for the family. Today, her daily profit between the 2 businesses is 200 birr, or $9 US per day… well over $216 per month… and that’s PROFIT! She has 2 employees and she continues to invest $36/month into her iqub.
So, what does this new life mean for Emebet? She can send her 5 school-age children to school without any help from the outside. Not only that, she is paying school fees for 5 children in her community who are living on the street. She is paying for the education of 10 children! Her husband is now healthy because he is able to get the health care that he needs and he has a job (working for Emebet) that is much less physically taxing. Emebet is also using her skills and her experience to inspire others… she now prepares the food for our family empowerment trainings. A few weeks ago, we watched 29 women go through an all-day business management training. Who provided lunch? Emebet. And she shared her story with all of these women to give them confidence and a first hand look into their future.
Emebet is not done… she dreams of opening a small hotel and helping even more people. She said “the more families we help will spread self-sufficiency, which will change our community.” We asked Emebet’s 12-year-old daughter, Melat, what she thought about all of this. She said, “Before, everything was so hard, but now we are comfortable. We are so happy!” She told me she wants to go to University and become a scientist… we asked her what kind of scientist she wanted to be. Her answer, “Space!” Well, Melat, you have a remarkable mother who is shooting for the stars…so you should shoot for the stars too!!