Psychosocial support to preserve families

Note: Name has been changed to protect their privacy

August 24, 2022

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Eden is a young woman who was born and raised in Addis Ababa. Eden and her three younger sisters were raised by their hardworking single mother, Kebebush. Even though Kebebush worked tirelessly to provide for her children, the family struggled to make ends meet. She worked in a local petty trade to supplement her income and support her family. Unfortunately, Kebebush's earnings were insufficient to meet even their most basic needs. Lack remained a constant source of concern. Given Eden's family's dire situation, a local government office referred them to Bethany's family preservation program.

Eden's family's situation began to improve after they began receiving benefits from the family preservation program. They began to obtain nutritional, medical, and educational services. Eden's family also received parenting and life skill development training as part of the package. As things began to improve and the family began to live a more stable life, Kebebush was forced to leave Addis Ababa due to an emergency. Eden was put in charge of her three siblings due to the circumstances.

Eden, in addition to continuing her secondary school education, remained a substitute mother for her three sisters because Kebebush was unable to return to Addis Ababa as soon as planned. She had to cook, wash clothes, keep the house clean, ensure her sisters' hygiene, and assist her sisters with their studies. Eden, a bright student, could no longer keep up with her studies because she had to worry about making ends meet as well. She eventually failed the national exam that would have allowed her to attend college. Among other things, she had always hoped to attend college, graduate, earn a decent living, and support her mother. The world seemed to crumble beneath her feet, and all hope seemed lost. That is when she began having suicidal thoughts.

A social worker's visit as part of Bethany's family preservation program revealed that Eden required psychosocial support to cope with anxiety and despair. Eden was overjoyed to attend more than ten counseling sessions and gain a new perspective on life, where she learned healthy coping strategies for stress. The more she went through each session, the more she realized who she is and what she is capable of. The sessions assisted her in redefining the meaning of her life. With her newfound knowledge, she started a small business to support her family while also saving for private college. She now knows how to strike a balance between living for herself and supporting her family. Eden now has more control over her life and she works to shape her own destiny.