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Working as a Servant at 9 years old, Tsega Finds a Better Life for her Children

Tsega was born in northern Ethiopia, and like most children in her village, she worked on her family’s farm rather than attending school. She dreamed of moving to the city and having a better life. So when her aunt suggested she move with her to Addis Ababa to be a neighbors’ house maid, Tsega, was eager for the opportunity. She was 9 years old.

Tsega soon realized the magnitude of her mistake. Her employers beat and mistreated her. She was unsafe in her new home but felt she had nowhere else to go, so she stayed, working long hours for little pay. Six years later, when she met and fell in love with Abebe, their relationship seemed like a way out.

Tsega and her son, Abraham

Within a year, Tsega and Abebe had a son, Abraham. But their relationship was already unraveling. Abebe soon began spending most of his time away from home and most of his wages on alcohol and cigarettes. Tsega divorced him, and though she found enough work to barely survive, life was more difficult than ever. Two years later, a second marriage to Gesese seemed like a solution. But he was soon gone too, leaving Tsega with a second son and the unimaginable difficulty of raising two children on her own, without income or employable skills.

Six years ago Tsega applied for assistance through Lelt Foundation's programs. Her son, Abraham, was enrolled in Lelt’s Child Sponsorship program, and the family began receiving food rations and household necessities. Tsega improved her job skills through Lelt’s Business Creation program, and she now is a caterer and runs a small laundry service. Abraham is currently a sixth-grader at Amanuel Private School, and Tsega’s outlook for the future of her family is optimistic. She says, “I have the most support I have ever had in my entire life. I owe it to our hard work and to Abraham’s sponsor in America. Lelt's team in Karakore has really changed our lives in countless ways."

Abraham, center, with friends at Lelt's Community Center

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