Written by: Mark Wallace, Executive Director Organizational Culture & International Partners
Degefa, who lived in a poor rural area of Ethiopia, was saving for university when he lost his sight in a work-related accident. With his dreams shattered, Degefa etched out a simple living for himself and his new wife, Zenebech, making rope netting.
Ten years and five children later, Degefa was struggling to make ends meet. He decided to go back to grade 10 to learn in Braille, with a goal of going to law school one day. As no school in his area offered disability training, he traveled 22 kilometers into Asella.
To make the journey each day, his 7-year-old son, Moses, would guide him. They would leave home early in the morning and not get home until after 10 pm. Once at the school, Moses would sleep in the back of the classroom. Educators asked why this boy was not attending his own school.
When they heard Degefaâs story, his classmates took up a collection to buy Moses food. They also directed Degefa to Christian Horizons Ethiopia for additional help. At this point, the family was suffering from malnutrition.
Thanks to donors like you, we were able to provide the family with a rented house in Asella so that Degefa, and his children, can easily attend school. His two older children became part of our child sponsorship program.
Degefa and Zenebech received business training and seed funds for their businesses. (Zenebech has a business making injera, Ethiopian flatbread.) With the funds, more time to run the businesses and a larger customer base, they will be able to take over the house rental after one year.
As Zenebech reflects on the change in her family, she says âI feel like that was a different life. I feel like I have crossed over into another world, a new life.â