by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
written on Jan 24, 2015
Through Adoption Ministry 1:27, forty families so far have received help to start income-generating activities (IGA’s) – their own small business – and get on the road to supporting themselves with dignity. This week Joy had the pleasure of visiting three women who are successfully operating their own businesses. We are so proud of them and so grateful to their sponsors for giving them this opportunity!
What a sweetheart! Seada’s tiny house is no bigger than a big bathroom here and contains two wooden chairs, a bed and room for three people – herself and her children. The workspace where she cooks injera (Ethiopia’s cultural bread) is in a shed on a rocky incline to her house. I found her there, expertly baking on the new injera baker she was able to purchase with a loan given to her from Adoption Ministry 1:27. She also has an old injera baker that needs repair, and once that is fixed she will use both ovens and be able to double her output.
Through tears Seada expressed her profound appreciation for the help she has received from Adoption Ministry 1:27, both with monthly support that allows her family to eat and her children to go to school, and for the loan she recently received to start an injera business. She is the only Christian in her whole family; the rest are M*sl*m believers. She said her daughter was sick almost to the point of death and a Christian prayed for her and Selam was miraculously healed. That led her to learn more about Jesus and it wasn’t long before she was a Christ-follower. Her husband left and Seada and her children are still dealing with his loss. She says she aches for him because he is in such a dark place and her children miss their daddy. But through it all, the Lord Jesus has been there for her, and the expression of His care came through the ministry of AM 1:27.
Now Seada can eat every day and prepare good lunches for her children when they go to school and she feels hopeful for their future because she has work to do that will eventually provide for their needs without outside support.
A little bit of help goes a long way!
With a little bit of help, Birtukan has expanded her fledgling business to almost double! She sells about anything anyone would want. With the new refrigerator purchased with a small business loan, she sells milk and cold drinks. Her tiny stove bakes the delicious dough she makes every morning into tasty, fresh rolls. And is it hot tea you want? She has that, too, along with dry goods, charcoal, and any and all things necessary to roast and make coffee. Bags overflowing with lentil powder for an Ethiopian dish called shiro are displayed on her counter along with barley and oat flour and several freshly ground spices.
Birtukan and her daughter live in her shop. They used to sleep on the floor behind the counter, but Adoption Ministry’s Mission’s Director, Mark, found her so and generously bought her a bed. She led me under the counter and through a tiny slot behind a tarp and proudly showed me where the bed rested between the tarp and the outside wall where she and Yabsira can now sleep comfortably.
Birtukan is a hard, hard worker with a ready smile and the ability to make people feel welcome. She will flourish as a shopkeeper, although she is challenged with ever-increasing rent. Her goal is to pay back the loan in two years and she expresses confidence that she will bring her business to a place of prosperity and independence.
The epitome of industriousness!
Yemsrach is a delightful, energetic woman who has endured much heartache and struggle since her husband left her. She said she was hopeless… hopeless for work and hopeless for her future. When Adoption Ministry 1:27 came alongside her with monthly support, she knew God heard her crying by sending His people to help her.
Recently, Yemsrach received a loan to start a small business and today I had the incredible experience of seeing this lovely woman in action. In the short time she has been working she has established a clientele for injera, serves coffee to office workers from 12–1:30, and has a busy store where she sells lentils, all kinds of vegetables, and small bags of charcoal. With her loan she was able to purchase a refrigerator and can also sell cold drinks and milk.
Yemsrach was radiant and her enthusiasm for life contagious. Within two years she will have the loan paid and will have built a thriving business that can sustain herself and her 4-year-old son, Yerosan . Yerosan is attending a nearby private kindergarten free of charge due the kindness of the owner who sees how hard Yemsrach is working to make a good life for herself. I saw Yerosan’s school papers and was impressed by this little guy’s fine motor coordination! He is learning English A-B-C’s as well as Amharic letters and numbers. Yemsrach still needs time for her heart to be mended at the betrayal of her husband, but she is active in her church with a strong faith and God will not only meet her physical needs but her emotional ones as well.
There is a way out of the hopelessness of poverty for many in our sponsorship program. If you would like to help a single woman in Ethiopia receive business training and a loan to start her own small business, please visit our AM:127 Business Starts webpage to find out how!