by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
written on Oct. 24th, 2013
We Americans generally root for the underdog and I am no different. I tend to think the best of people and have a can-do attitude. But sometimes I don’t give people enough credit, or I tend to find excuses for faults or failures.
Today, however, as I sat in a shabby, semi-dark room on a wobbly plastic chair I heard a pep talk like no other. Elainie, our business trainer, spoke to eight women identified for our budding micro-loan project through Adoption Ministry 1:27. She encouraged and implanted vision in these women currently living in deep poverty.
She said there is honor in work, there is always something to put your hand to do and you need not remain in poverty (no excuses)!
I then asked the women to share with me and our AM 1:27 team their dreams for the future. What would they like to do? What would they like their tomorrow to be? I was amazed by their thoughtful answers and heartened by their earnest demeanor. Listen to a sampling of what I had the honor to hear today:
Fatiya – “I came from a M*slim background married to a man who drank and beat me. Our home was in chaos and we were quarreling all the time. I was a beggar on the streets. Then I received Jesus Christ into my life and He completely changed me! My husband left me when I converted to Christianity, but after receiving help from Adoption Ministry 1:27 he returned to our home and found a very different wife! We reconciled our marriage and just recently my husband committed his life to Christ. I am so happy! Now I am ready to work, and would like to open a shop in the market selling fruit and vegetables. I know I can be successful!”
Engidageti – “I am so glad to have this chance to discuss future plans and to listen. I am very poor and my husband does not help our family at all. Adoption Ministry 1:27 is covering my child’s school fee and buying us food to eat and I am so grateful for this help! Right now, I mow grass and sell it. What I would like very much to do is to have a small tea/coffee shop and sell home baked cookies. In conjunction with this, I will bake injera (Ethiopia’s cultural bread) and distribute it to other shops to sell.”
Alamaz – “I became a Christian 8 years ago. My husband died and I am raising our two daughters. My oldest daughter recently received Jesus Christ and my littlest girl is learning all about Him. God has changed my life completely — there are no words to explain it! I don’t like begging and asking others for help. I am a hard worker and would love the opportunity to work and earn a living for me and my girls. I also want to show my daughters how to work and earn a living. I would like to make injera and wat (Ethiopian stew) and bake bread and bring these lunch items, along with tea, to construction workers for their breakfast and lunch. Right now, I chop meat for a butcher and make 600 birr a month (about $32 USD). I am in a savings group* and give 200 birr ($10.70) a month to that and then I put the rest in a savings account. I am very careful and make ends meet with the support I get from Adoption Ministry 1:27 and from what I get from the savings group. One day, I will be successful and support myself, with God’s help.”
*A savings group is 10-12 women who each contribute an amount of money every month. On a rotating basis, one woman gets the entire amount given for that month.
Adoption Ministry 1:27 staff are working hard to help many more women like these get started in a small business that meets a need in their community. Raising money to fund business opportunities for women whose families have been stabilized through AM 1:27 is our top priority. Funds raised will be used to hire business managers to oversee the program in Ethiopia, to set up business training centers to equip and support these new business owners, and to create micro-loans. Please contact us if you’d like more information about how you can be involved!