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Fetira's Story

Updated: Aug 7, 2018

Fetira Mudesir had a difficult life growing up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Born into a large family, four of her eight siblings passed away from malnourishment-related causes at early ages. Her parents were severely impoverished and they were fighting constantly. Home life was so untenable that Fetira’s mother sent her to live with her grandparents in the countryside, to a village without a school. When she was 11, both her grandparents died and Fetira returned to Addis Ababa to live with her mother, who by then was divorced.  She had never gone to school and never would.  Like her mother and grandparents, she couldn’t read or write, and had no work skills. She was living the same cycle of poverty endured for generations by her family.

When she was 17, Fetira was kidnapped and assaulted by an abusive older man, Jemal, who was addicted to alcohol and chat (an amphetamine-like stimulant). He beat and abused her, forcing her to live as his wife. She bore two children, a daughter Habiba, and a son, Abubeker.  As terrible as her life was with Jemal she felt she had no choice but to stay. She needed to feed her children.

When she finally broke free years later, she took her children to settle in Karakore. Uneducated, unskilled and alone, Fetira was in financial crisis. She couldn’t find any work to support her family, and she was afraid, depressed, and feeling hopeless.

Four years ago, everything changed for Fetira and her family. Her son, Abubeker, became sponsored through Lelt Foundation’s Child Sponsorship Program. His new sponsor enabled him and his family to enroll in a series of assistance programs that turned their lives around. Abubeker came to Lelt’s Community Center each day for a nutritious meal and after-school tutoring. Fetira took home monthly food rations and household necessities so they were eating well at home, too. Abubeker’s grades improved, and last year Lelt Foundation moved him to a private school in Karakore, where he is receiving an advanced education.

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Fetira, who has been employed as a sanitation worker, enrolled in Lelt’s Job Creation program. This program empowers members of our community to apply for full scholarships to highly accredited vocational schools. Fetira will begin night school to train in cosmetology, and dreams of becoming a hair stylist at a local salon. Fetira said she is grateful for Lelt’s assistance, stating, “Abubeker is learning in private school and getting his daily lunch, school uniform, exercise books, shoes, clothes and school supplies. He has clothes for after school, too. The food we are given on family ration days is such a blessing. I’m not constantly worried about my kids eating anymore.”

The opportunities that Abubeker’s sponsor provides for his family are immeasurable. Through this family’s hard work and their sponsor’s support, Fetira’s family is pulling themselves out of the cycle of poverty.

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