An Unfinished Story

Numbers often convey to humans a story, but a story relying solely on numbers often fails to convey the human impact.

Hope Arising was founded by 3 women nearly 10 years ago.

Our water project installed 19 miles of pipe and now serves approximately 60,000 people.

Over 9 years, 20 dental team have traveled to Dera and have served an estimated 4,000 patients.

Our eye doctors have delivered more than 500 pairs of glasses and, by treating patients for trachoma, have saved the vision of hundreds more.

Our educational support efforts have paid registration fees more than 400 students to attend multiple years of school, has built 1 school, and built hygienic bathrooms that allow hundreds of young women to remain in class.

Our micro loans have assisted more than 50 women and provided basic business training as they raised these families toward self reliance.

The numbers convey the incredible impact of our volunteers and friends, but the numbers don’t really tell our story. The real story can only be understood by knowing the individual.

Meet Tiruworek.

Tiruworek’s husband died several years ago – we don’t know exactly when. But time and years pass differently in rural Ethiopia. People worry for today. Yesterday is past and tomorrow’s arrival is uncertain.

Five years ago Tiruworek and her two daughters lives were defined by uncertainty. How will I eat today? Where will my child sleep tonight? When she could find work, cleaning homes in the village, she earned $2.65 month. One daughter left to live with Catholic missionaries. Tiruworek and her daughter ate less than one small meal each day.

About this time she learned of Hope Arising’s new microloan program. Each in a small group of women would receive funds and training to start a personal business. Tiruworek created a plan and asked to be part of our first group of recipients.

After securing a $100 microloan, she established a business weaving baskets, making injera (bread), and selling her wares at the local market. Her life immediately improved. She and her daughter began to eat regularly; her daughter returned to school. Within two years, Tiruworek repaid her loan, saved $242, and relocated her family to a safer home.

Tiruworek and Chantal
Today Tiruworek’s life continues to improve. This past month she invited Hope Arising’s cofounder, Chantal Carr, to her home. Tiruworek new, royal blue dress and head scarf paled only in comparison to the bright, hopeful smile adorning her face.

Several children and women accompanied her; most had benefitted from her generosity. As they toured her small, clean home, Chantal noted the almost complete injera basket -Tiruworek’s latest craft -almost ready for market – sitting on a small plastic table and asked if she could buy it.

“No, it is my gift to you. But first I must finish it,” came the generous reply.

Chantal resisted the Ethiopian hospitality. The basket represented more than Tiruworek’ success. It told a story broader than one woman’s journey to hope; it represented more than the market’s price for basket.

The unfinished basket, the creation of Tiruworek’s nimble fingers, told a story. Not a story of numbers; a number of real people. Just like the basket, an unfinished story.

Editor’s note: Tiruworek’s story is an update to the story we originally shared in a 2013 video. Her story is just one example of how microloans improve not only the recipient’s life, but also the many lives of the recipient’s family and neighbors.

If you would like to help other women like Tiruworek, please consider donating today.