“A number of people find it hard to live,” Mazaa said. In Ethiopia — Mazaa’s home — demand for emergency aid has increased in recent months. War in the northern part of the country, the displacement of millions of people, and an ongoing battle with COVID-19 have combined to create throngs of vulnerable people. Mazaa’s life has been filled with obstacles. But she has chosen to fight against hopelessness.
“Sometimes I feel the wonder of how one opportunity opens another opportunity,” she said. “[It’s] like salt in food. You add a small amount of salt to food and this small thing changes the taste and quality of the food. The women’s project is like that. With short but effective business training and a small donation, my life was transformed.”
The economy took a turn for the worse in Ethiopia several years ago. Mazaa tried her hand at several different jobs. But no matter where she looked or how hard she tried, she struggled to make ends meet. Eventually, even the will to keep going evaded her.
“You get discouraged when you don’t earn the fruits of your hard work,” she said. “So I stopped altogether and sat at home.”
Then, she heard about Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment program. Mazaa learned how to run a business, market it, save income, serve customers, and other valuable skills. She started by selling bread. Then, she used her earnings to start a laundry business. Now, her goal is to continue expanding her businesses so that she can hire other unemployed women in her community.
“I feel very happy,” Mazaa said. She moved into a new house, runs two businesses, and acts as a beacon of hope in her community. She goes out of her way to share the information she learned with other women so they can begin new, empowered chapters in their lives.
“My advice to my fellow women is that a woman, like any other person, can work and change her life as long as there is the will and confidence in her,” Mazaa said. “We women have to use the different opportunities we get and work hard. But this needs faith and commitment. Unless there is a commitment by our side no amount of help can bring change.”
Mazaa’s story represents tens of thousands of women who have begun new chapters full of empowerment and hope. These women create positive change in their communities, set good examples for their loved ones, and lead lives full of purpose.