Tigray Women Development Project

Tigray Women Development Project

In Mekele, several projects promote the empowerment of women. There are over 25 women-only saving and social support groups (these kind of groups are also provided in 5 locations outside of Mekele). One project provides start-up capital for the purpose of income generation to more than 350 poor women. There is also training on business, leadership, gender rights and equality, assertiveness and decision making. These projects are designed to benefit mainly households headed by women, young girls and women living with HIV. By helping women in this area, the Tigray projects are challenging gender equality and giving many unfortunate people a fresh start in life.

Lemlem Gebretsadik is an example of the excellent help the Tigray projects gives. It also demonstrates the holistic approach the Daughters employ in their help for those most in need, offering a variety of types of help.

Lemlem Gebretsadik

Lemlem Gebretsadik is aged 26 and was married in grade 7 at the age of 15 in one of the rural villages of Tigray. Upon marriage, she came to Mekelle with her husband for a better life and started selling enjera in downtown Mekelle. However, due to high rent and divorce after giving birth to two sons, she began to experience difficulties. She faced a hard time raising her children and sat idle for a month, but her friends provided her with some resources and she decided to open a café in a tent in the new developing areas of Mekele.

She recognized that a number of her customers (many of them are charcoal sellers) was continuously increasing. However, she couldn’t supply the demand for different types of food due to the shortage of capital. This kind of entrepreneurial thinking is exactly what the Daughters of Charity wish to promote. After she applied for credit to the Community Care Collusion (CCC) office in her area, they directed her to the Daughter’s CST project. She fulfilled the criteria. She undertook business management training which taught her customer interaction, cash management and how to increase production efficiently. She was also given a loan of 8,000.00 EtB in 2016 which is due to be paid back to CCC over the next two years. With the money, she was able to supply various types of food, soft drink, beer and water to her customers during breakfast and lunch and her profit has subsequently improved. She is able to save 6,000.00 EtB per month which she hopes to expanded her business with. Her current plan is to buy another tent for a kitchen. She also saved another 4,000.00 ETB in the Saving and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) group of which she was a member. For Lemlem, the business management training she received was actually more important than the money she borrowed, because, as she so perfectly put, “money does nothing if we don’t manage it and think in a visionary way”.