Seven high school aged girls traveled to Dera and on the International Day of the Girl Child met with similarly aged Ethiopian girls. These teenagers discussed the blessings and challenges of womanhood and taught one another how to live true to their potential.
The American girls then broke the taboo subject of feminine hygiene and proper health care before distributing hygiene kits.
Thank you to Big Ocean Women for preparing and sharing the kits; they are changing lives by enabling girls to attend school without fear of embarrassment.
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.
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.
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.
We had a great spring trip to Dera! We painted a wing of the health clinic, updated the computers in the high school and visited the schools. We are excited for a new toilet in the Hope Arising bathroom! That is good news for all team travelers.
We were able to view several gardens that are going strong in Dera. The high school has furrowed their plot and is moving forward. Dera #1 presented a Stay Alive play for us, showing they know the risks and danger of HIV/AIDS.
We had 3 energetic teenagers who taught several classes on nutrition and how to make tippy-taps (hand-washing stations out of a water bottle). Joe taught the high-school computer classes how basic programming skills can lead to jobs online.
We visited the orphanage in Nazret and donated some clothes and toys. The school is close by so we were able to play there for a few hours. It was hard to tear ourselves away!
We fell in love with Tiruworek Kebed! She has made dramatic improvements in her life, thanks to the micro-loan from Hope Arising. We are so happy she is able to increase her monthly income and her savings. Instead of cleaning houses, she now makes beautiful baskets and delicious injera (a traditional local bread) to sell. We hope to help more people like her.
We were greeted in Dera by 10 women who told us their stories of how the Thrive Together program has helped them. They receive micro-loans and in return must attend classes and make commitments, such as keeping their kids in school (which Hope Arising helps to pay for) and have 2 meals a day. One woman was making the equivalent of $1 a month as a housekeeper. With her micro-loan, she was able to buy equipment and supplies to start her own business making injera (a local bread) and weaving baskets. She now has enough money to feed her family and has saved the equivalent of $263. She is amazing! The progress of these women is impressive!
Our state-of-the-art recording keeping system shows how many eye patients were seen by Dr. Wilson in Dera. Each finger keeps a running total by day- 237 patients seen the first day, 301 patients seen the second day (for a total of 538), and 198 patients seen the third day, for a grand total of 736 patients. WOW!!! He diagnosed 49 cases of trachoma, which can cause blindness within a year, but is easily treated with a Z-pack of antibiotics.
We were amazed by how much our dental team could do in 3 days in Awash, a village just north of Dera. Our fearless leader and one of the dentists, Chet, was even stuck dealing with bureaucrats for 2 of the days. We had Jenet and Lydia, our local dentist friends come from Addis to help us. Between all of them working with support staff of Darlene, Peggy, Valerie, Linzi, Tyler & Braxton, they were able to service 355 dental patients, including extracting 570 teeth! Way to go!
We were honored to have Heather (pictured above), who is working on her Master’s degree in Art curriculum join us in the local schools in Dera & Awash. We combined an English lesson from Linda (pictured below), a 6th-grade Rodell teacher who taught the kids about the different sounds letters can make with an art lesson. The kids drew pictures of cats, beds, houses and flowers. They were impressed with the crayons and we were impressed with their skills and respect.
We couldn’t do these humanitarian trips without the support of our amazing country staff. L to r: Abenezer, (Chantal, Jen, Chet) with Seife & Nabyet. Pictured below with Valerie is Santayu. These men are hard-working, patient & delightful. They organize things before we come, take care of logistics of moving, housing & feeding 25 people while we’re there, translate for us, help deal with customs at the airport just to get our equipment into the country, etc. We appreciate all that they do for us. They have a place in our minds and in our hearts. They are our co-workers and also our friends.
What stands next to water in importance on the hierarchy of life support? Food! Gardens continue to be a key component of success in Dera. There are five households with productive, thriving personal gardens and three additional sites ready for planting. These personal, home gardens allow these families to have fresh vegetables on hand with the surplus being sold to neighbors for additional income. The benefits are immeasurable to these particular families. The abundant rainy season has generated a productive harvest for Summer 2013.
In addition to the personal gardens already up and running, Hope Arising is expanding support to two large community garden sites that will be using furrow irrigation, instead of drip systems, for increased production. Those who have been chosen to run these community gardens have three things in common; very poor, living with HIV/AIDS and have large families. Proper nutrition is even more imperative to those who suffer with HIV/AIDS, to allow the necessary medication to work properly. These families are preparing the garden sites and will receive training in all the necessary areas to insure success! Hope Arising will oversee every stage, along with help and support from local leaders. More than 30 individuals will directly benefit from these gardens. Fresh vegetables will abound in the next few months for these hard working families!