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Displaced Family Finds Stability through Lelt's Emergency Programs

Updated: Feb 21

Ashenafi, second from right, with his family in Karakore, Ethiopia

Ashenafi is a third grader at Hidase Elementary School in Karakore, Ethiopia. He was the baby of the family until his little sister was born six months ago. Ashenafi has grown up in the rich traditions of his family of textile weavers – a skill handed down for generations. His father, Dereje, weaves intricate clothing and linens on a wooden handloom. Ashenafi and his brothers have been learning the family business as they hone their skills to work next to their father when they are older.

The weaving community of Karakore built their homes on a hilltop a few blocks outside of the fray and bustle of the center of town.  Many of these families helped each other build traditional Ethiopian dwellings made of eucalyptus wood and clay with a tin roof. Weaver families lived in this area for many years, until last year, when the Ethiopian government declared their homes unzoned and forced them all out. The government razed their homes with tractors, leaving dozens of families without shelter and security. It was a terrifying time for this community, and many dispersed throughout the country – some to relatives in the countryside, and some left begging. Most children were forced to drop out of school with their lives in upheaval. Ashenafi’s family, homeless with a small baby, was in significant crisis.

site of razed dwellings in former weavers village

Lelt Foundation arranged for emergency funding to provide temporary shelter for displaced families. We moved Ashenafi’s family into a rental unit within walking distance of the children’s school. Dereje’s weaving business suffered greatly as the family put all their resources into relocating. During the first few months, he was only able to earn about 1000 Ethiopian birr per week, equivalent to $17 USD. He took a micro-loan from the Lelt Foundation to purchase raw materials for his business and has been steadily growing his income, making 3 times that amount this month. With the children going to school regularly and their business back on track, this family is on the way to independence, thanks to the generosity of Lelt’s supporters!

Ashenafi at Lelt's community center in Karakore, Ethiopia

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