HCE is focused on preventing families from sending their children to the cities for child labor in the hope of financial support. Empowering mothers to become financially stable is one effective way.
In our project in Chencha, in southern Ethiopia where many children migrate from, we organize women in Self Help Groups (SHGs) and provide assistance and assets to help them use the resources they have as tools to become financially self-dependent.
When her husband died, Amarech Aba was left to take care of her five children as well as her mother-in-law by herself. For 10 years she collected wood and sold it at the local market for enough money to buy just a handful of food for her six family members. Then she was recruited to join HCE’s Empowered Women Self Help Group (SHG) in Chencha, SNNPR, Ethiopia.
After I joined SHG I started saving and at first I received an improved potato seedling, which was a life changer for me and my family. The seedling was highly productive, and the demand was really high in the market. My income increased very well that me and my family started eating three times a day and my children started going to school afterwards.'
After her father passed away, Edom Issayas and her family had little to live on. As the oldest child, Edom was forced to quit school and start working. In order to support her mother and two younger siblings, she turned to prostitution. 'It was very difficult for me to comprehend my father’s death on one side and my involvement in the sex trade on another,' she says. 'I hated myself so bad that all I thought about was suicide.'
In one of the darkest parts of her life, Edom was presented with the opportunity to join HCE’s Self-Dependency project. As part of the program she received basic life skill training as well as beauty and hair dressing vocational training. Edom also received food, clothing, medication, educational support and more as part of her involvement with HCE. 'I am so thankful for all HCE did for me,' Edom says. 'I have now finished the year-long training and support. I already got a job as a hair dresser before I even graduated.'
Edom also took the National Examination and earned high enough marks to be accepted to a college. She hopes to one day own her own beauty brand and hair salon.