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Despite Disability, Resilient Mother Starts her own Small Business in Ethiopia

Gojam was raised in a small village in the Ethiopian countryside. When she was a toddler, she fell from the family bed and endured a severe break in her right leg. The village had no doctor, so Gojam was not treated. The bone in her leg healed poorly, and as a result, she has been disabled her entire life.

Gojam, second from left, with 3 of her 4 children

As is common for girls in rural Ethiopia, her marriage was arranged by her parents when she turned 16. She met and married Workeneh on the same day, and they raised four children together over the next 15 years. And then one morning, Workeneh had left without a word. Abandoned with four children, disabled, and having never attended school, Gojam was left in crisis to provide for her family. Her eldest son, Dejene, moved to the city of Addis Ababa to work as a day laborer. No one would hire Gojam in her village because they discriminated against her for her disability, so she moved the rest of the family to Addis Ababa to reunite with Dejene. She was determined not to beg for money on the streets, so she continued to search for employment and applied for poverty assistance through the Ethiopian government. Her family was matched with Lelt Foundation, and began receiving support through our programs last year. 


Gojam’s youngest son, Wubishet, joined Lelt’s integrated educational program at our Suki Mariam community center in Addis Ababa. He receives digital literacy and computer training, along with after school tutoring and a daily nutritious meal. All of his education costs are covered through Lelt’s program, including registration, tuition, school supplies, clothing, and shoes.

Wubishet showing his mother his computer skills

Gojam joined Lelt’s business management training course and received a micro-loan to start her own small business. She now has a cooking charcoal business, and is selling enough product to support her family. Lelt’s programs provided the family with health insurance, and now Gojam can be treated for her disability, as well as care for all the medical needs of the children.

Gojam & Wubishet, with charcoal product
Gojam attending adult literacy class at Lelt's center

Gojam said, "We received Lelt’s support at a critical moment. I had nothing to feed my children and we were getting desperate. My kids and I were struggling to eat, and paying for the house rent was nearly impossible. We were afraid we would be homeless. Now we have help. I get household rations, health insurance, and I started a new business. I'm learning to read and write. Wubishet’s full sponsorship is also a big relief. I do not worry about him staying in school and getting educated. This help has transformed our lives!




To provide life-altering support for families in Ethiopia, please support the Lelt Foundation’s work here

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