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Despite Loss and Illness, Mother Fights to Protect her Children

Updated: Mar 1, 2022

Desta and her five siblings were orphaned at an early age, raised by extended family in the south of Ethiopia. Her brothers were sent to school, but in that region, most girls were kept home to work on the farm, solidifying another generation of females which never entered a classroom in rural, poverty-stricken Ethiopia. When she was only 14-years old, Desta’s marriage was arranged, and she became pregnant with her first son when she was still a child herself. She wanted a better life, so she packed up her belongs and her baby boy, and headed to the city to find work.

Desta found work cleaning homes, but it was difficult to keep jobs with a 2-year old boy in tow. She craved stability and found it when she met her second husband, Solomon. They had two children, Kirubel and Betselot, and Solomon worked as a carpenter to support his growing family.

Last year, Solomon became very ill and passed away. It was at this time that Desta discovered he died from complications due to a chronic virus. She tested herself and learned she also carried the virus. Grieving the loss of her husband and discovering her own health crisis at the same time, Desta was despondent. With no income coming in, she lived in abject poverty with her three children, and was begging on the street to survive and feed her family.

Despite multiple traumas and loss, Desta fights for the safety and security of her children.

Desta wasn't going to allow poverty and illness to leave her children orphans. She applied for Lelt's assistance through the regional government. Desta and her children have been receiving emergency food assistance and able to recover from their crises. Desta is taking antiretroviral medications to combat her illness, and she rents a small room near the local school. She has enrolled to join Lelt’s Business Creation Program to receive trade training and a micro-loan to start her own small business. Kirubel, Desta's 10-year old son, is now in 3rd grade at Repi Elementary School. His favorite subject is Math, and he wants to be a pilot when he grows up. You can help this family achieve their goals by sponsoring Kirubel through Lelt’s Child Sponsorship Program today.

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