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.