Freshly baked beginnings
What difference does this make to her family? ‘Now my house is full,’ she says. ‘We have a cupboard, a bed, chairs and a fridge. I can provide enough food for my family to eat and I can clothe them well.’
Standing next to her is her daughter, who carries her own child on her hip. Siret and her husband support their two children as well as two more from poorer relatives in the countryside. Their blessings have overflowed into many more lives.
It’s a huge success story, but so are self-help groups. Back in 2002 Tearfund helped to launch self-help groups in Nazareth, along with the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church.
There were only 100 women in the first Tearfund-supported self-help groups, all of them in Nazareth. Now there are almost 20,000, helping to change the lives of roughly 1.5 million people across Ethiopia.
Self-help groups into southern, eastern and western Africa, and as far as Haiti. The power of the self-help group to lift its members out of poverty speaks for itself. As a result, more and more women and communities want to get on board.
It reminds me of the tale told in John’s Gospel about another Nazareth: ‘"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip.’ (John 1:46)
Come and see indeed!
Prayer for this:
- Pray for the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church, and other churches in Ethiopia, that they will continue to find new ways to live out the gospel – good news to the poor.
- Thank God for the countless thousands of communities around the world who have already escaped extreme poverty through these self-help groups.
- Pray that these groups will continue to take hold and multipy, across Africa and further afield.