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One positive step at a time: Tsige's story

With a family of nine, Tsige has struggled to provide but with the support of her self-help group, life has now started to change.

Written by Tearfund | 08 Aug 2016

Tsige's story - Self-help groups

Tsige lives in Ethiopia with her family. Life has not always been easy – her husband recently passed away and money has been scarce but, thanks to your faithful gifts and the support of her self-help group, Tsige is learning to find hope and joy one step at a time.

Married at a young age – to a much older man – Tsige had a young family of five to take care of, in addition to her brother’s three children whom she adopted when he and his wife suddenly, and unexpectedly, passed away. With her husband becoming bedridden due to a car accident, Tsige found herself without any support, and burdened with the tremendous responsibility of providing for her family of ten.

Surviving on just 117 birr (£4), food was scarce and the children would often go to school on an empty stomach. At first, Tsige took out a loan, but the cycle of paying high interest rates and the uncertainty of regular income to pay back the loan meant that this was not a viable or sustainable option.

The importance of self-help groups

After starting labour work, Tsige met with people from Tearfund partner, Kale Heywet Church. They helped to educate Tsige, and many others just like her, about the importance of savings and encouraged them to make a start of planning for the future. Tsige joined the self-help group and, wonderfully, made her first profit.

But more tough times were ahead. Tsige’s son suffered a breakdown, and Tsige herself fell and broke her wrist meaning she had to stop working. However, thanks to the self-help group, people rallied around Tsige and her family, and miraculously they got through the next few months together.

With the help of the group, Tsige took out a loan that enabled her to start selling chickpea flour, oatmeal flour, barley flour and peppers – and was so successful that local shops started to stock her produce. Tsige started to pay back her loans and today feels so blessed that people encouraged her to join the self-help group.

Tsige preparing a meal
‘'Whenever I think of my group... the love and the sisterhood fills my heart with joy. I will never forget what the group members have done for me'’


Life has certainly changed for Tsige and her family – and you have been part of this progress and transformation. The fantastic work of self-help groups would not be possible without the generosity and faithfulness of supporters like you.

Now, praise God, Tsige has been able to renovate the family home. She has also paid back all the money she owed and has learnt the value of savings saying, ‘I believe whatever happens in my life, I will get through it using my savings.’

Wonderfully, Tsige’s son has made a full recovery, however with the recent passing of her husband, life still isn’t easy and there’s a long way to go – but even in the most difficult times, Tsige continues to trust in God’s faithfulness. 

Thank you for helping to restore dignity and bring hope to the lives of Tsige and her family. Without your faithful prayers and support, none of this would be possible – we couldn’t do what we do without you!


  • Lift up Tsige and her family as they move forward, and pray for her business to continue to flourish. Ask that God will bring comfort to Tsige as she adjusts to life without her husband, and for the children as they come to terms with the loss of their father.
  • Praise God that self-help groups are impacting so many people in Ethiopia. Pray for more people to be released from poverty in Jesus’ name.
  • Continue to pray for Tearfund partners and all those working to help make a difference to the lives of those in need. Pray for guidance and strength as they continue this life-changing work.

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Written by  Tearfund

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