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Asaya is a resident of Nefas Mewucha Town, she is a 25 year old Muslim married lady. Both she and her husband are HIV sufferers, her husband is sick and often bed ridden- so she takes the responsibility to care for her family. She didn’t get the chance of any form of education. The family lives in one small rented room. Their income per month at the start of the project was approximately 50 birr, Seydu became a project beneficiary at the age of 2, and additionally there is a 7 year old.

Asya explained her situation shortly after joining the project ”Chance brought difficult challenges in my life; me and my family are suffering because of hunger and HIV. Basic needs including daily meals are commonly denied in our home. There is no hope in my children’s future.”

Now 2 years later Asya explained her situation: She is a member of the cotton spinning group. The group worked hard and got nearly 4000 Ethiopian Birr last quarter and income of 240 Ethiopian birr per mother. Additionally the group was able to save 60 Ethiopian birr. She told us ..” more than the money I value the good social relationship with my group. Before I stayed at home without any job which made me socially isolated. Now I learned many lessons. If we are working hard & utilize the opportunities & resource provided by Beza we will have a bright future.”

Asaya shared how she had benefited from the projects holistic care. “I have not words to express the changes in my 5 year old son Seydu: his clothing status, health treatment & especially in his social skills. 2 years ago he could not talk, now he is very active & communicate easily with everyone.  I praise God/Allah/ for that!”

Hana Alemu is a 34 year’s old married mother. Both Hana and Endale Godena (her husband) are living with HIV. They have four children (M-2 & F-2). All their children are free from HIV infection. They are currently living in Entoto Mountain in a small rented home.  She lives with her family and was supporting herself and her family by selling Ethiopian traditional cloths and different jewelry items that are locally made.

What does she think about the program? It has been very important for her and her family daily living. Before she joined BCDA’s Entoto women empowerment program, she was engaged in daily labor and could not able to support her family because of low income. Once she joined the program, she got different capacity building trainings such as basic SHG formation, business identification, and the concept & importance of saving, health education trainings and others.     

What other benefits does she get from the program? In the project Income Generating Activities (IGA), she has started to gain money through her own individual business. She has received seed money to start her business. She is active and recently selling Ethiopian traditional cloths and different jewelry items. This time, she is fully fulfilling her children’s need.

What did you use the profit for? For household needs. She was also able to save to expand her business

What do you expect in the future? In future, when the IGA strengthens she says “I can expand my business change mine & my family’s life with the help of the project through loan”. When the mothers begin to see the benefit of the project for their children they engage properly. “Other community members want to join the BCDA Entoto program” she says  ...“Other organizations are giving food and providing a hand to mouth support, but not empowering mothers to change their lives”.  She thinks in the future her business may become very profitable.

What would she like to say to the donors? “I am very happy with the donors help. But practically if they saw face to face how my life has life had changed they would be so encouraged. This is not a simple thing she says!”

Hymanot  Deribe is 15 years old and a grade 10 student learning in EntotoAmba School. She lives with her mother around Mount Entoto. She has one elder sister who is attending Addis Ababa University (AAU), School of Pharmacy. She did not know her father but her mom told her he lives elsewhere because they were divorced when she was a child. Her favorite food is “Dorowot” (Ethiopian chicken stew) and her favorite subjects are math and chemistry. Hymanot started receiving service from BCDA 6 years ago. Her mother was engaged in daily work before BCDA started the jewelry making business six years ago. By the time her mother got the chance of recruitment to be included in the jewelry making women’s group who are living with HIV virus around Mount Entoto under BCDA support, her mother was trained with those women on how to make jewelry.  However, Haymanot’s mother couldn’t continue to stay in the program because of serious sickness. However, her mother got another chance under the Women’s Empowerment Program last year (2014). 

Hymanot continued to attend the children’s educational support project. After Hayimanot started to attend the tutorial class, she explained that she did not like mathematics because her math teacher was so fast while teaching and she was unable to follow and understand the steps in detail. But to change the perception of Hymanot towards math subject, the social workers and volunteers repeatedly gave her an assignment after the tutorial class for a couple of weeks and gave her a small gift for her commitment. Through time, her situation has shifted and started to be more interested in math than other subjects. According to her, ‘’I like doing mathematics better than any other subject of my study because of the support from BCDA. I also I like to come to BCDA because it is the right place to learn everything. The reason is that I am getting support from BCDA with the material support, educational field trips which helped me to be refreshed and spend memorable moments with my friends. In addition, I got tutorial support that makes me understand difficult subjects in a more relaxed way of teaching from volunteers.”

Today, Hymanot is one of the outstanding students in her school and in the tutorial class. Her inclination is to be a medical specialist because she is interested to be a researcher to find a treatment for diabetics and HIV/AIDS because she said that there is no curative drug for these diseases and as a result of these, many people whom she knew lost their life. In this year, Hymanot has planned to use her time efficiently in order to score a good grade in her exam that makes her mom happy.

Mister and her son Salamlak (4 years) have been beneficiaries since the start of the project.  She is a single mother, additionally she is living with HIV (taking ART) - but thankfully she is fit and well at this time.

She stated “when I joined the project I did not really expect much help. However I have received much benefit!” She has particularly found the medical support and social care helpful. Her son started Kindergarten this year and is benefiting much. He was awarded a prize for his good behavior at the midterm of the year.

Mister is a leader of the bread income generation group. The group enjoys good fellowship together- however they have faced many ups and downs over the last 2 years. The group is now becoming well organised, the government will give them a shop to sell their bread within the next month, and she believes that the small profit that they currently make will grow. She is hoping in the future that instead of daily labour they can work together full time in the bakery.

Tewodros Tesfaye is 14 years old and lives with his mother, two brothers and one sister near shiromeda.  His mother is engaged in selling vegetables in the small market and gains a low income which is from hand to mouth. His father passed away when he was 6 months old.Therefore, he did not know his father. He goes to Diel Betigil primary school and he is in grade 7. His favorite food is rice, his favorite subject is Mathematics and Physics and he wants to be an Engineer in the future.

When he was 11 Years old,suddenly, his elder brother who was attending in grade 9 passed away after 3 days due to an unknown illness. During that time, his mother mourned desperately and suddenly became sick and was admittedto hospital for more than a month. She was found to be largely depressed, an anti-depressant drug was prescribed for her, and she left the hospital after recovery.  This was all because his mother had placed much hope on the boy. At that time life became challenging for Tewodros, his brothers and sister because their daily needs depend onlyupon his mother’s low income which was difficultin addition to his mother’s serious illness.

Before he came to BCDA tutorial class, Tewodros did not like to read or study his lessons at all because of one of his peer group always advised him saying ‘’Reading is not good and it evaporates your previous knowledge.”Due to this reason, his performance was very low and especially Mathematics became the most difficult subject for him. As a result of this, Tewodros did not like mathematics. Fortunately, one of his good friends told him that there is an organization named “BCDA” which provides tutorial support on mathematics and English subjects. Tewodrospromptly decided to join the tutorialgroup and came to the center.

After Tewodros joined BCDA, during a tutorial class, the Educational social worker told students about the general truth concerning mathematics saying,‘’Mathematics is the game of mind with numbers and it is not the subject of memorization rather it is the subject of action (practice).” From this, Tewodros has developed an interest and became highly motivated. According to him, “I like the way the volunteers and social workers taught i.e. their approach, methodology, and motivation to help us.” In addition to this, he said, “I feltlike I am at my home, happy and free to express my ideas when I am here at the center”.  This time, Tewodrosnot only developed an interest in mathematics but he has also developed the habit of reading and also scored high-grade rank in his school.

BCDA Entoto Women Empowerment Project

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