Empowering support for better living

From selling Injera to hens laying eggs

July 06, 2021

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Mezgebe and her husband are parents to four children. Mezgebe had a small business selling injera, they opened their home to tenants as means of additional income, the tenants, husband and wife became their close friends over time. The tenants were a loving couple who had a young daughter Biruktawit, sadly due to chronic health conditions they both passed away within 3 years of each other, leaving Biruktawit in the care of Mezgede. Mezgede was determined to find a way to keep Biruktawit with her following such great loss of both parents however with additional responsibility of another child, Mezgede found she was in need of support, she was working hard to sell injera and her husband of retirement age was on a minimum wage also. Referral to Bethany’s FPE program provided them with the necessary stabilizing support. Mezgede has been able to access medical care and has been able to join a savings and credit union with a loan she was able to start a different business selling roosters and selling eggs from hens she owns, very quickly she’s grown this business and has paid back her loan.

Mezgebe and her family have benefitted a lot from the support, with Mezgebe’s perseverence in the most challenging times she’s improved her family’s wellbeing enormously. She is now able to fulfill all their necessities as well as be capable of generating sustainable income. Because of her determination to give the best care possible for her biological and foster children and Bethany’s regular assistance, Mezgebe has been a resilient and successful parent. As a result, Biruktawit has been able to remain in Mezgebe’s care and is thriving.

Mezgebe and her husband were a room rentier long ago for living purpose in their own house so that the income support them for a living. Couples by the name Hailu and Kassech were living renting the room from Mezgebe and her husband. They had a smooth relationship with their rentier which surpasses the fact that they were only tenants. Hailu and Kassech had a baby girl named Biruktawit while they were living at Mezgebe’s. Both the parents were living with a chronic health condition but did not disclose their health status to anyone around them including Mezgebe. After suffering for about three years, Hailu died and Kassech continued living in the same house taking care of Biruktawit.
However, three years later, Kassech’s health condition deteriorated and needed an intensive care. A relative then had taken Kassech to care for her leaving Biruktawit with Mezgebe. When Kassech left, she entrusted the responsibility of taking care of her daughter to Mezgebe even when she dies. It was at this time that Mezgebe learned that Biruktawit as well was chronic. Nine months later, Kassech’s death was reported and a charity organization which used to support Kassech approached Mezgebe to take Biruktawit. However, Mezgebe preferred to keep Biruktawit with her as she gave her word to her biological mother that she will always take care of her. Since then, Mezgebe has been taking care of Biruktawit and has already adopted her. Mezgebe used to sell ‘Injera’ for a living back then as her husband was a retiree who gets minimum wage and she has the responsibility of raising and feeding her own biological children. As a result, support was necessary for this family.

After few years since Biruktawit started living with Mezgebe , she was referred to Bethany, Family Preservation and Empowerment program, from the local government office as she needed support due to her health condition. Initially, Mezgebe received a monthly support until she joins the Saving and Credit Cooperative that was functioning under this program which gives members capacity to empower themselves with better economy. Mezgebe initially took a loan from this cooperative and started poultry business in May 2019. In the beginning she had 40 roosters which were sold out for a holiday. Another 40 roosters were sold out for the second round. Mezgebe realized when she becomes familiar with the business that having 30 hens would help her to also engage in eggs business. She has been selling eggs for a year since then. Mezgebe is already paying off her loan and collecting profit from the business. With this poultry business, Mezgebe has benefitted a lot and has improved her family’s wellbeing enormously. She is now able to fulfill all their necessities as well as be capable of generating sustainable income by her own.