Meet Alemewerk: A woman for the job!


Alemewerk really is the woman for the job!

Please meet Amelewerk. She’s a member of a Self-Help Entrepreneur (SHE) group. Her work and her SHE group’s positive momentum has suffered during the pandemic. In Ethiopia, the challenges of escalating inflation made work and success very challenging. During the past year, Roots Ethiopia put your support to work to revitalize SHE members with additional support and training for hard-working and determined women, including Alemewerk and her SHE group.

Alemewerk is so happy to share that she has a new outlook and fresh energy for success. She excitedly said, “I support my family selling fruits and vegetables. The most significant achievement for me is not only selling fruits and vegetables but also thinking like I have a job. I oftentimes do not stay at home, but go out and assess the market to help me do my business better. I feel strong and able to do so much more with the training, the savings program, and my SHE group who are excited about each other’s successes.”

(Alemewerk in blue, preparing her local market space)

Amelewerk’s years of harsh struggles have been healed by working hard every day and having support to make it through so many challenges. She is so happy to be part of the Self-Help Entrepreneur program and she says, “I am ready to do more, just watch me!”

Alemewerk’s hard work and dedication are inspiring. Go and get it, Alemewerk!


(Alemewerk making a sale)

SHE Leads. Meet Worke


Wayziro Worke is a mother of two young girls, and she is raising her niece. When we first met her, she was alone, worried, with a lot of responsibility; a rent that was hard to pay, lack of confidence that she would be able to keep her children in school, and not enough money to keep her 3 children well cared for at home.  Worke had an overwhelming sense of concern for her future. She wondered, “How can I survive with so little hope?”  Worke joined our Roots Ethiopia Self – Help Entrepreneurs (SHE) network in January 2018. SHE members tell us Worke is one of the most ambitious, trustworthy and committed members of her Halaba SHE network.
Continue reading “SHE Leads. Meet Worke”

SHE Means Business! Meet Hanna


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. Continue reading “SHE Means Business! Meet Hanna”

SHE + School Attendance = Awesome!


Back to school for these two young people!

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Tadelech’s children are headed back to school this week. They attend school regularly because their MOM IS A ROCKSTAR entrepreneur! Tadelech is part of a Roots Ethiopia Self-Help Entrepreneurs (SHE). She sells bananas and eggs in the market – and she even has a secret way of ripening her savory bananas. (You can read all about her on our Instagram account, using the hashtag #Tadu and #LaurensLens)

At Roots Ethiopia, we value family self-reliance. Tadelech is a great example of how a strong business plan and the support of a like-minded group of women means success for everyone in the family.

Do you want to enable the livelihoods of women like Tadelech? Support a woman who is joining SHE for just $27/month!

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Betsega: A Boy’s Day in Ethiopia


It’s one thing to believe in the promise of a child; it’s a whole other kind of gift to see that promise lived. Earlier this year we introduced you to eight-year-old Betsega — one of the 250 kids benefiting from a Roots Ethiopia school sponsorship. Thanks to your support Betsega goes to school.

Who is Betsega? He is the oldest of three; the son of a father who works as a day laborer and a mother who sells coffee, injera and homegrown vegetables at the night market; a boy who loves soccer; a young entrepreneur who used one month’s of Roots Ethiopia support (275 birr) to purchase four chickens that he tends in a coop he engineered himself. His devoted efforts mean the coop is now home to two baby chicks as well!

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When we asked Betsega “If we met you on the street for the first time, what would you want us to know about you?,” this child who dreams of being a pilot one day deftly turned the question around on us: “I’d like to know about your plane ride to my country!”

Without the Roots Ethiopia sponsorship, Betsega would soon be forced into day labor himself. Instead, he can spend his childhood dreaming and studying and working with his chickens. Here, completely in his own words, is a day in the life of Betsega.

I wake up in the morning

I wash my face, eat breakfast, prepare my backpack

I walk to school down the road

Period 1 is environmental science; period 2 is sports; then math, English, Amharic, and spoken English classes

I come home for lunch at 12:30 and check on my chickens

I return to school at 2 for one more English class, math, and more science

I come home at the end of the school day at 3:30

I wash my uniform

I do my homework

I help my Mom while she works to get ready to leave for the market with her injera. I make coffee and anything else she needs me to do. I am good at making coffee!

At 6 I start reading and I study until 8 when my Mom returns.

I help make dinner and roast the coffee. For dinner we might eat potatoes (dinich), kocho (local food), vegetables (gomen), and corn bread.

Then we all wash our legs and go to bed. Sometimes I am too tired to wash my legs and I fall asleep, so I’ll wake up and feel my Mom washing my legs for me.

This is the type of productive and safe day we wish for every child.

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Betsega’s chicken coop

An annual commitment of $300 will go far in the year ahead, not just in miles to rural schools where Betsega and other school sponsorship students live, but far into their everyday lives.

 

Are you ready to educate children in Ethiopia? If so, please SHARE this with others who might want to learn about the benefits of an Ethiopian education!

UPDATE: This blog post was written in 2017 and today Bestega is still working hard to help his family while excelling at school. He’s 13 and in 7th grade. His bright light continues to shine!

7 Incredible Things YOU Did in 2016!


I could not blot out hope, for hope belongs to the future. –Lu Xun

See the dream. Be the impact. Feel the success.

The 2016 sun has set an incredible 366 times, shining a light on all the ways your gifts to Roots Ethiopia have turned dreams and challenges into success.  As we begin what will surely be another year of work to create lasting change in Ethiopia, we thought we would bring you a year in review, by the numbers.

Here are 7 phenomenal ways YOU turned local ideas into lasting change:

  1. 15,000 students and their communities were enriched through Learning Resource Projects that focused on making the school learning environment the best it can be. Desks, chairs microscopes, books, shelves, concrete floors, chalkboards, libraries for public use, the list is long. The impact is broad. The local community is inspired.
  2. More than 8,600 community members received temporary food support during the months following drought-related crop failures. In the darkest of days, these food staples allowed kids to keep going to school and families to stay strong.
  3. 113 librarians and 39 science teachers received intensive training in their field to become better leaders and to improve their innovative use of local materials as teaching tools.
  4. 11 rural schools were recipients of new books in the local language(s). 6,000 students can now expand their literacy skills and love of reading.
  5. 175 students attended school with all-inclusive School Sponsorships.
  6. 40 boys and girls participated in a new sports-based program designed to develop youth leadership skills. The program includes uniforms, sports equipment, and instruction.
  7. Over 300 women and men built their own small businesses that sustain their families. 19 Self-Help Entrepreneurs were in place in 14 project sites for the small business owners to increase their capacity to earn income, increase their self-confidence, and work for social change.

These accomplishments all began as the dreams of small Ethiopian communities. You brought the resources, and you stood strong in the face of the serious challenges that threatened the livelihoods of so many. You gave monthly, or all at once or both. Your hope for better lives for Ethiopia’s poorest families was the thread that linked possibility to progress.

Thank you for an amazing 2016.

In 2017 we will see change, growth, and new opportunities.  In partnership with your commitment, here’s to the hope for a better future for all of Ethiopia.

Warmly,

The Roots Ethiopia Board of Directors

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Roots Ethiopia is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working in Africa, specifically helping Southern Ethiopia. Roots Ethiopia supports community identified solutions for job creation and education.

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SHE Leads! Meet Lemelem


Lemelem is a leader! She is part of our Self-Help Enterpreneurs (SHE) in Areka, Wolayta. Before joining the women’s group her family struggled to meet the needs of their 2 children. Their only income was from her husband’s meager income as a petty trader. Lemelem had a strong business idea, but without startup capital, she was not able to realize her goals to be self-reliant.

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In late 2015 Lemelem joined “Reheboth”, a local Roots Ethiopia SHE. She learned valuable business skills, refined her business plan, and began a small savings account. She saved 12 birr every week along with her team of women. Then, she joined a local ‘Equb’ (an informal rotating savings and credit association common in Ethiopia) and saved an additional 50 birr weekly. Crafting a savings plan and then sticking to it was difficult, but SHE social and economic strategies for success helped every woman meet their savings goal.

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(SHE in Areka has over 20 members who meet once a week)

After a few months of establishing solid business knowledge, Lemelem received her start-up capital from Roots Ethiopia and she started selling plastic shoes in Areka and surrounding towns.

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(Lemelem at work, summer 2016)

Lemelem is very successful. She has increased her savings AND provided material comforts for her family.  She bought a bed for her family, is able to make sure her children eat regularly and is tending to her young children’s needs with healthy hygiene and nutrition. She’s looking forward to sending them to school when they are old enough. Lemelem says, “my family is happy, and my marriage is even stronger!” Lemelem hopes she can expand her business and open a shop.

SHE LEADS! We are so honored to share Lemelem’s story! Become a part of a woman’s story and donate to our annual campaign

 

Roots Ethiopia is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working in Africa, specifically helping Southern Ethiopia. Roots Ethiopia supports community identified solutions for job creation and education.

 

A Father’s Story on Father’s Day


In 2015 the life of a father was changed with a Roots Ethiopia small business grant. Ayele, his wife, Genet, and their 6 children want to share their story with you for Father’s Day.

Ayele is a hard worker who, in the midst of his work selling grain in the market, was bedridden with serious illness.  For 2 years he was sick. His family sold all of their worldly goods to provide for his medical expenses. The family lost everything and suffered greatly. Even as they rejoiced as Ayele recovered, they struggled to rebuild their future.

The outlook seemed bleak with no resources for school, rent, or livelihood. In 2015 the Roots Ethiopia community facilitators in Hadero selected Ayele for a small business grant to help him reestablish his grain market business.

Ayele shared:

The Hadero MKC and Roots Ethiopia community encouraged me when I was so ill. And then they helped me recover both in body and in spirit when I received start-up capital to get back to work.”

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Once again Ayele has created a thriving market business. He can feed his family, pay his house rent, and he has saved some capital to grow his business. His entire family is involved in their success, adding sales of plastic bags and coffee to his grains.

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Ayele says, “I am the happiest father in all of Hadero. My dream now is to sell grains in quintal. And I will see my children grow strong in school and in their future.”

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

You can be part of our small business success. Please consider a gift today.

 

 

A Connected Community Supports Job Creation in Ethiopia


On Saturday evening at The Prairie Cafe in Middleton, Wisconsin over 100 people gathered to support Roots Ethiopia’s commitment to job creation in Ethiopia. Artful Giving included art created by women in support of women. Proceeds from the event benefited SHE which currently provides market jobs to over 200 people in rural Ethiopia! The evening was an enormous success with many pieces of art being sold and proceeds going to our work.

The main words used to describe the evening were connected and empowered. Old and new friends of Roots Ethiopia had a lovely time admiring and purchasing the artwork that linked the attendees to the lives of rural Ethiopian women.

The crowd was treated to luxury chocolate donated by Vosges Chocolates out of Chicago!

A traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony was also part of the evening!

In order to get a true feel for the intimacy and power of the evening, you need to hear from the artists themselves. Read what each of them had to say, and then enjoy some more pictures from the lovely night!

“I am grateful and elated to have the chance to empower women through my art jewelry and S.H.E.. I love the idea of women empowering women!” Chris Callahan, CMC Studio

“To bear witness to life in Ethiopia and be able to express it through my art has been an honor. It is my intention to share parts of what I have witnessed and experienced in Ethiopia and be able to empower women through S.H.E. With every brush stroke, I was connecting to a country I love, the birthplace of my daughter, to our Ethiopian family and to the vulnerabilities that exist in their community with the hope of being apart of a solution to ending poverty. This series of art emerged after traveling to Ethiopia to work with Roots Ethiopia’s school enrichment project. Some pieces speak to a different aspect of life and culture in Ethiopia, while other pieces were an expression of the hope I held onto during our adoption process and the same hope I witnessed while visiting Ethiopia.” Jennifer Rikkers, Jennifer Rikkers Art

“As a photographer, my inspiration happens at the same time the photograph is made. One memory I have is of a woman sharing that she was unwelcome in her community when she was homeless and without a job. Now that she has her own shop selling things, she is welcomed and included once again. When I took her picture, she was serving us injera with such beaming pride, it was a moment that made me realize that it was her own work that saved her life.” Lauren Werner, Lauren Werner Photography

$27/month sponsors one small business for an Ethiopian woman. These grants are intended to alleviate poverty by empowering families to develop the means to generate sustainable income, year after year.