City: Addis Ababa

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Tigist lives in Ethiopia with her mother and grandmother. Tigist’s father abandoned their family and, shortly after, Tigist’s mom became sick — so sick, in fact, that she can’t get out of bed.

Tigist’s grandmother was forced to beg to get enough food for the three of them. When there wasn’t food at home, Tigist would ask a friend at school who had extra if they would share. Many times, Tigist would just drink water and spend her time at school hungry.

One day, a neighbor told Tigist’s family about a new Convoy of Hope feeding program at the school. Tigist’s teachers knew about her family’s struggles, so they accepted her into the program.

Now when there’s no food at her home, Tigist knows she will still eat a meal at school.

“We get what we need,” she says. “If we are not full enough, we ask for more, and they give it to us.”

Tigist is very eager about her studies and education. “Right now, I am a kid,” she says. “When I can stand by myself in the future, I have the responsibility to take care of them. Once I complete my education, I will get a job, and I will take care of my family.”

“If that’s the wish of God, I’ll be the one to make that difference.”

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Children's Feeding / Program Updates
In Ethiopia some of our women's businesses have grown to the size where they have their own employees! In Ethiopia some of our women's businesses have grown to the size where they have their own employees!

International Women’s Day: Empowering Women and Changing Families

Just a hand up. Sometimes that’s all a person needs to rise out of a poverty and feel like they’ve finally made it. A simple hand up can mean the difference between a success story and a life lived in despair. And that’s what we’re here to help provide: a hand up to families who need it.

Our Women’s Empowerment Initiative began five years ago, and was birthed out of a desire in our hearts to change the circumstances of women who were marginalized in society, with no hope of ever becoming more. Many we saw were homeless, with no job skills or income, and no way to provide food or shelter for their children.

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We wanted to help women like Murida, who was forced onto the streets when she could no longer afford her house when her husband left her and their four children. With no income or formal training for employment, she survived on the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She tied a long scarf to herself and around her children at night so they wouldn’t be kidnapped while they slept.

For 14 years she lived this way — but her life, and her children’s lives, have changed now.

Murida was chosen to enter our Ethiopia Micro+ program and was trained on how to make and market “njera,” a staple Ethiopian food. After her training, she was given seed capital to start her business. Today, her children are living in a home, with no threat of being kidnapped when night falls on Addis Ababa.

Because she’s able to provide for herself and she’s running a successful business, Murida couldn’t be happier. “To have someone look me in the eyes and to feel their care,” she says, “I know I am human and worth something.”

“Of an estimated 1.3 billion people living in abject poverty, 70 percent of those are women.” says Kara Edson “That’s unacceptable. We’re helping women break the cycle of poverty.”

On this International Women’s Day, we will continue to provide a hand up to women and families who need it all over the world — because we want every woman to know, like Murida, that they’re worth more than they ever thought.

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In honor of International Women’s Day we are giving away this beautiful hand made bracelet engraved with the seven countries where we are striving to change the lives of women. Comment on this blog or share our Facebook post for a chance to win!

 

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Program Updates / Women's Empowerment

An inspiration to empower women

In 1969 my parents’ automobile was hit by a drunken driver. My father was killed and my mother was seriously injured. Suddenly, my mother became a single parent and began looking for a job to support the family.

She did not have a college education or formal training. She wanted to care for her children but she found it difficult to find employment that provided adequate compensation. Although I was just a boy, I remember her leaving the house day after day to search for a job. She was determined that her family would not stay on welfare forever.

Finally, she was offered a temporary position which eventually led to full-time employment.  That was one of the greatest moments of her life.

In countries like Ethiopia, Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment Initiative, which teaches women skills to earn and save money through job training, is giving women an opportunity to earn an income that enables them to feed their children. In essence, they are accomplishing what my mother did many years ago.

Many of these women have been abandoned and abused their entire lives. But finally, through Women’s Empowerment, they are being given a chance at a better life.

I’ve had the opportunity to visit some of the businesses these women have started. I wish you could see their smiles and hear their words of gratitude.

Because the women are being taught how to save a portion of their earnings, no longer will they be living in the streets or struggling to make ends meet.  They have new skills and a greater understanding of business principles. As a result, their future is bright.

Thank you for caring and giving so Convoy of Hope can continue to meet the needs of women in places like Ethiopia, Tanzania, El Salvador and more.

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From the Founders / Women's Empowerment