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.
Dr. Jeff Roberson, a volunteer dentist, was taking a few minutes for lunch during a busy day in the Dera Dental Clinic. With lines of people waiting, he noticed a young girl with a baby on her back who’s foot was badly burned. He was compelled to reach out and help this little boy, 1 1/2 years old who’s eyes were full of pain and suffering. After local health workers could not help, Dr Roberson got a private taxi for Ayub and his mother, Gishu and got them to a larger city and hospital where he paid not only for treatment but in addition, money for the family that was lost from selling at the market. For many families, if they do not sell at the market for the day, they do no eat for the day. It is these individual moments of personal connection that deeply impact the hearts of everyone there.