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Samuel and Tsehay's Story

Updated: May 29

Nine-year old Samuel Hailu has never met his father. His mother, Tsehay, has been his sole support and only family his entire life. Born into poverty and abandoned by her husband before Samuel was born, Tsehay was determined to provide stability for her son, despite the challenges. Tsehay grew up in the countryside and never attended school, so finding steady work was difficult for her. The only employment she could rely on was manual labor. So she strapped Samuel to her back and brought him with her when she hauled rocks at construction sites in Karakore, Ethiopia. They were not eating regularly and were suffering from malnourishment, which made the construction work all the more difficult.

Samuel, far left in grey, playing soccer at Lelt's community center

Four years ago, Tsehay applied with the government to join Lelt’s programs. They were enrolled, and Samuel began coming to our community center every day for support. He received school supplies and uniforms, tutorial classes, arts and sports programs, and a daily meal. Tsehay joined Lelt’s business creation program and took a micro-loan to start her own small business of weaving traditional baskets and selling clothing. She said, “before joining this program, I was consumed with worry that my son and I would starve. I couldn’t provide a meal for my child, let alone think about his future. Lelt’s program gave me the chance to feel hopeful. I now dream that Samuel will go to college and be successful, when two years ago I didn’t know if I could keep him in elementary school.” Samuel has a full Lelt scholarship to an elementary school in Karakore, Ethiopia, and is in 2nd grade. His favorite subject is Science, and he wants to be a doctor when he grows up. 

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