There are staggering roadblocks to success for a woman like Hanna. Forced to abandon school in the 9th grade. Married at an early age and soon the young mother of two daughters. Her husband’s mental illness and inability to work. Her younger daughter’s neurological disease. Aging parents who move in with her. Hanna. The 24-year-old who’s already lived a half dozen lifetimes is now tasked with supporting her entire family.
It’s the stuff of tragedy, and for a weaker person might well be the end of the line. But Hanna is a survivor. And she is also not alone.
This year Hanna enrolled in Roots Ethiopia’s Self-Help Group (SHG) in Hosanna, Hadiya zone. SHGs, also known as “savings groups,” provide women with a road map towards self-reliance by developing and nurturing their small business ideas. A start-up grant provided by Roots Ethiopia pays for their entrepreneurial and financial training. SHGs are structured so that participating women learn to save a minimum amount each month, while also contributing to a collective shared fund.
With her funds Hanna is preparing coffee in a rented shop. She has confidence in both her ability to generate profit and to serve in a leadership role in her SHG. She has the energy of youth and the benefit of more education than some of her peers. So, Hanna is not only learning to invest in her own future, but trust in her power to effect larger change in her community.
Tragedy is when a person loses hope. But Hanna has light in her eyes. She has new access to the tools that give a woman the power to make her own dreams come true. One of them is already being realized. With the money she’ll generate making coffee, Hanna plans to transfer her school-aged daughter into a better kindergarten. She’s working to make sure that her daughters know what it looks like when a girl demands more out of the life she’s been given. Roots Ethiopia honors her resilience.
You can be part of supporting women’s resilience and determination. Please make a donation to support 2 new Self-Help Groups. You’ll be glad you did!