Updated: Aug 17, 2018
Adanech Ledi was born in southern Ethiopia 35 years ago. Her parents were poor but loving, and she has fond memories of her early childhood. Right about the time she started kindergarten, however, her parents both became ill. By the middle of her third-grade year, both had passed away.
Adanech was taken in by an aunt in Addis Ababa, but her life became dramatically different. She had to earn her keep as a domestic servant by gathering sticks and leaves to make fire-starting packets to sell to neighbors. She had no opportunity to work through her grief or adjust to such a new and alien existence. School was out of the question.
When she was 18, Adanech fell in love with and married Nuru. They had a son named Semeru. Tragedy again hit, however, when three years later her husband died after an unexpected illness. In an effort to provide for her son she took a bold step – Adanech left Semeru with her aunt and went to Qatar, where she had heard she could earn decent wages by working as a domestic servant. As a foreigner, she was more vulnerable than ever, and her new employer abused her. Defeated and battered, she returned to Addis 3 months later and moved back in with her aunt. She started work at a recycling plant, and also hauled large stones with her bare hands at a construction site, barely sustaining herself and Semeru.
Life will always be challenging for Adanech as a single mother of 5 children, but she works hard.
Four years later, Adanech remarried. Over the years, she gave birth to four more children. Her husband raged at her for having to provide for such a large family, and eventually he left them. Adanech remembered the happy days of her early childhood and felt overwhelmed, alone, and helpless.
Then, a great opportunity presented itself: Semeru became sponsored in Lelt’s Child Sponsorship Program. He immediately was supported with educational assistance, provided with school uniforms and after-school tutoring. He received a nutritious lunch every day at Lelt’s Community Center while Adanech received monthly food rations and household goods for her family. She enrolled in Lelt’s Business Creation Program and got a micro-loan from Lelt to start her own small business. Adanech now has a small vegetable stand at the local market, earning a fair wage and affording her time to spend with her family.
Life will always be challenging for Adanech as a single mother of 5 children, but she works hard. Thanks to Lelt and Semeru’s sponsor, her family has more opportunities. Her son receives an advanced education that will help him secure better employment possibilities in the future, and help his family break out of the cycle of poverty.