As an orphan in Ethiopia, Sintayehu has no memory of her parents. Sadly, she was abandoned as a child. Her foster father, Asmamaw, found her living on the street when she was only five years old.
Although Sintayehu was grateful to be taken in by another family, this joy was quickly robbed. Her foster family did not want to send her to school and treated her like a servant.
“My memory is of working as a housemaid in different homes until I was 14 years old. When I was a kid, I had no chance to play with my peers. I was denied that opportunity.”
Sintayehu left this home and began to work at a young age to support herself. She washed clothes and baked injera (flatbread), but only earned $1 a month.
Sintayehu walking with an FH staff member.
Helping the Most Vulnerable
According to UNICEF, an estimated 4.5 million children in Ethiopia are orphans. Children like Sintayehu. Many drop out of school or never attend at all. These children are vulnerable and in need of assistance to help break the cycle of poverty.
Fortunately, with the faithful generosity of friends like you, Food for the Hungry (FH) developed the Orphans and Vulnerable (OVC) project to aid these children as they transition into adulthood.
Sintayehu was a teenager when she joined FH’s OVC program. She was one of 800 orphans who joined in 2012. Through the program, she began receiving support so she could stay in school and afford to live on her own.
“The support from FH made me stable and let me dream of something greater,” she said.
Sintayehu participated in an FH savings group meeting.
Forging a New Path Through Entrepreneurship
In 2018, FH created new savings and credit groups to make financial services accessible, cost-effective, and sustainable for vulnerable individuals, such as Sintayehu. These savings groups helped families and orphans participate in activities and start small businesses to bring in more income.
“I took economic classes in saving, planning, entrepreneurship, and different business-related classes,” Sintayehu shared. “Plus, the training I took from FH helped me set up my business and identify what would be profitable and what is needed by the community and my customers.”
Sintayehu received a $109 loan to create and expand her own business through the savings group in the OVC program.
A Baking Success Story
Sintayehu used the loan to began an injera baking business — using her knowledge and skills of baking since she was a child.
After several months of working hard to establish her new business, she was able to buy a modern electric oven and increase the supply of the products she bakes. Now 18 years old, Sintayehu has many customers, including restaurants!
She has already paid back her loan and has saved nearly $600, in which she hopes to use to expand her business. Because of her successful business, she is able to pay her bills and even employ others to help bake injera.
Sintayehu baking injera bread for her business.
You’re Making a Difference in Lives Like Sintayehu’s
Without the support of generous friends like you, Sintayehu’s life could have been very different. Thankfully, Sintayehu now has a bright future and she is an inspiring role model for others. You can watch her story here:
“The support from FH has turned my desperate life into a hopeful future and paved my way to becoming a business owner,” she told FH with a proud smile. “If I were not supported by the project, I would not survive … Now I’m able to support myself.”
“I would like to thank you! To those who helped me to realize my dream, I would like to say ‘God bless you.’”
Thank you for helping to break the cycle of poverty in Sintayehu’s life! Learn how you can impact more lives like hers today.
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