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Widow Starts Small Business Through Lelt

Zewdi was born 37 years ago in central Ethiopia. She was one of nine children and her parents struggled to feed their large family. Zewdi was needed at home to help with the chores, so she never attended school. When she was 13, she went to live with her uncle in Addis Ababa, to gain employment and send some money back home. She worked in her uncle’s house, and also for another family as their maid. The hours were long, the pay was almost nothing and she was always exhausted. She had no schooling and her entire childhood experience was nothing but back-breaking domestic work.


When Zewdi turned 17, she returned to her family home, where her parents soon arranged a marriage to a man named Zenbaba. The couple moved to Addis Ababa where they had two daughters. When the youngest, Yordanos, was 3 years old, Zenbaba became ill and unexpectedly died. This tragedy sent the family into a downward spiral – with two small children and neither an education or work skills, Zewdi had to find some way to support her family by herself.

She was employed as a laborer at a flower factory and worked long hours hunched over the soil with Yordanos tied to her back. She made so little that she could barely pay the rent, and there was never enough food. Zewdi did not want her children to be deprived of school as she had been, but she had no money for school registration fees or uniforms. So she applied for Lelt Foundation’s assistance through the Ethiopian government, and her daughter Yordanos was put on the waiting list for Lelt’s Child Sponsorship Program.

In early 2013, Yordanos became sponsored by a Lelt family. She began going to Lelt’s Community Center every day for a nutritious lunch and every afternoon for tutoring, after-school classes and activities. Zewdi received monthly food rations and household necessities for the family at home. She also enrolled in Lelt’s Business Creation Program. After completing our training seminar, she took out a micro-loan through Lelt to start her own small business of selling cooking oils and spices at the local market. Her business has been thriving and income has stabilized over the years.


Yordanos is now 15 years old. Her sponsor family is not able to support this family any longer, so she is in need of a new sponsor to help maintain the much-needed assistance they have been receiving. If you are able to help this family, please sponsor Yordanos today! This family is well on the way to becoming self-sufficient permanently, with just a little help from a new sponsorship.

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Private donors pay Lelt's operating costs, so every dollar you donate goes directly to life-saving programs in Ethiopia.