“I have passed through a lot of hardships in life,” said Desta. “I felt like the sky had fallen on me.”
At some points, it felt like life itself had betrayed her. As a single mother of five, opportunities have not always been easy for Desta to find. But after participating in Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment program in Ethiopia, her life changed completely.
Raising five children with limited means was hard enough when she and her husband were together. But when the two separated, the thought of supporting herself and her family alone was almost more than she could bear.
“I didn’t know what to do or where to go,” she said. “I hated myself and life in general. I felt weak, and my heart broke.”
Desta battled depression — she couldn’t eat, and she couldn’t find rest. She didn’t know how her family would make it through. Then, she joined Women’s Empowerment.
“The training I received included work ethics, how to change yourself economically, small business management and operation, customer handling, and saving,” she said.
This was the chance she had been hoping for: a chance at a new, hopeful life where she and her children could thrive. Soon, she was the proud owner of several businesses, making money in a variety of ways.
“I have diversified my means of income,” she said. “I sell vegetables [and] charcoal. I also bought an onion grinder and small laundry machine, and am earning some income by providing rental service to neighbors. I am doing well in business.”
Desta is proud to say that she no longer has to rely on others. All of her children now attend school. One of them is following in her entrepreneurial footsteps by running a successful photography business.
“One of my greatest dreams is to see my children be successful,” Desta said. “I don’t want my children to pass through the things I have passed through.”
Desta now has a community of like-minded business owners to support her in her ventures as well. Through the Women’s Empowerment program, she met other women in similar situations, all looking for opportunities to build better lives.
“The social counseling and experience sharing forum with other women was inspiring and comforting. It helped me gain confidence, communicate, and socialize with people easily,” she said. “Above all, never lose hope in any circumstance. Many women’s lives, like mine, have been changed through the project. God bless you all.”
Convoy of Hope celebrates International Women’s Day every year in honor of women like Desta, whose strength changes and empowers communities around the world. To learn how you can participate in the celebration, click here.