Since 2008, Diaconia has been a presence in Ethiopia, providing educational and financial support to more than 130 families (mostly widows and children) who were previously living in extreme poverty. Our goal is that participants will find sustainable and long-term ways to support themselves and their families.
Through financial donations, Diaconia empowers particpants to confront problems using local talent, skill, and expertise. Our model is based upon the notion that resources are best utilized by those who have the deepest understanding of the local culture and history.
Mare lives along the main thoroughfare of Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, in a humble dwelling made of scrap wood and tin. She is divorced and takes care of her four-year-old daughter. When Mare’s sister left her husband and then disappeared, Mare was left to care for her two-year-old daughter. Now, she is the sole provider for both little girls.
Prior to Mare being accepted into our program, she sold bread and tea. Upon receiving her initial $250 microloan, she expanded her business offerings and began to sell injera, a traditional Ethiopian bread. Her home also functions as her storefront and, due to its central location within the city and it’s proximity to the hospital, Mare has been inundated with regular customers. She is now making up to 300 birres a month!
In the future, Mare plans on moving to a different location, one in which she would be able to expand her retail space. She has worked tirelessly towards her dream, and has already obtained land and building materials. Soon she hopes to begin construction on her new shop. And, in addition to her business success, she is now able to send both of her daughters to school!
Mare’s brief story is another example of how a small investment can bring large returns!