Marta, a 20-year-old girl, was born in Andasa, a small village near Bahir Dar. When she was old enough to go to school, she joined a primary school in the village just like other girls did. Unfortunately, she lost her father while she was in the second grade.


 Her mother began brewing and selling a traditional alcohol called tella to raise Martha and her other five children.

Eventually, Martha moved to Bahir Dar in order to pursue her education as she reached grade six. With the support of her mother, she rented a house and started living in the city. To supplement her livelihood she started working as a daily laborer during the weekends.

Two years later, her mother could no longer support her and she was summoned back home. But Martha refused to comply with the order. She dropped out of school and started working as a waitress in one of the bars in Bahir Dar. She found it difficult to support her family and pursue her education with what she was earning. Nonetheless, she tried her level best to save from her meagre income and to pursue her education as well as supporting her family. She was then forced to engage in commercial sex for a while to increase her income and support her family. She continued working for five years despite experiencing horrendous sexual, psychosocial, and physical abuse and exploitation in her day-to-day life.

Eventually, she came to learn about FSCE and its program from her friends. She ran into a committee responsible for this and got registered at FSCE for rehabilitation and reintegration. In March 2011, Martha joined a safe home to obtain the rehabilitation and reintegration program benefits. While taking the rehabilitation services, Martha chose to take training in driving Tri-Motor Cycles [Bajaj] and managed to establish her own livelihoods.

While taking other rehabilitation services, she pursued the same career and obtained Taxi-1 driving license. After six months, Martha reintegrated with the society, employed as a Taxi-1 (Bajaj) driver with a daily income of 80.00 birr. She has now done this for about a year. Martha says her income has now grown to 100.00 birr per day, which amounts to 3,000.00 birr per month. Now, Martha is leading a comfortable life away from an abusive environment. She also manages to spare some of her income to support her family. Martha has resumed her education and is promoted to grade 10 through the Alpha University College Distance Learning Program. Currently, she has saved more than 9,000.00 birr in one of the banks in Bahir Dar. Moreover, she has also registered to upgrade her driving license to level three, which might cost her more than 10,000.00 birr.

Looking back at her past, Martha confirms that it was the rehabilitation and reintegration program that has enabled her and her family to live a more decent and comfortable life. She also wishes to be able to support other disadvantaged girls who live under abusive and exploitative circumstances.

Yodit Lema (false name), 15, is now leading a healthy and an independent life with her mother and two elder sisters after completing her rehabilitation training program supported by Terre des Hommes Netherlands TDH and run by FSCE in Adama city, Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia.


 

After quitting school from Grade 8 and passing through difficult times, Yodit is now safe and far away from the risk of sexual exploitation. Currently, she is attending her education in a nearby school.

Yodit was born in Adama City and still lives in of the slum area of the same city called Birca where most of the dwellings are congested and dilapidated. A number of hotels, bars and traditional bars found abundantly in the area are believed to put children at risk of various abuses and exploitations.

Yodit lives with her mother and two elder sisters in a single-room house rented from the government. After her father, who was the only source of livelihood for the family, died, her mother has to shoulder the entire burden to fulfill the basic needs of the family. However, the meager income that her mother brought home was not enough; Yodit and her sisters have to support their mother. Hence, Yodit started selling cooked potatoes, which she did on the streets and by going to different bars and hotels during the night time.

Yodit describes this time as challenging and as being potentially so dangerous that it could have ruined her life forever. “I was forced to quit school. Besides, while selling the cooked potatoes, I F S C E Annual Report 2013 // 19 encountered so many challenges which were too much for my age.”

She said that sexual assault was one of the serious challenges she and other girls faced while doing their work during the night time. Customers in the bars and even others on the streets tried to have sex with her in exchange for money. Some even tried to use force. They insulted her. They didn’t want to pay for the potatoes they were served.

“All the time I faced such a problem, I was very frightened as I had no guarantee that I was not exposed to sexual assault and robbery,” said Yodit, remembering those ugly nights on the streets.

It is after all this hardship that FSCE, Adama Area Program Office, intervened in her life. Yodit got various supports such as vocational skills training in hair-dressing, basic business training, and life skills training. After completing her vocational skills training, Yodit started working in the same vocational skills training center with a monthly salary of 650 Birr. Yodit said, “I am now happy. If I work hard, my dreams and aspirations will be real. I am now leading a peaceful life. I am now able to support my family who need my support.”

Yodit added, “If it had not been for the support of FSCE, I would have faced serious problems. I thank FSCE, TDH and the staff for what they did for me.” She continued, “This experience in my life has taught me a lot. I will not go back to that life again and I will also share my experience to other children as it could be a lesson for them to learn from.”

W/ro Jemanesh is now 38 years old. She has a daughter and a son, who are in Grades 3 and 10, respectively. Jemanesh lives in Addis Ababa, Akaki Kality subcity, Woreda 7.


When she was old enough to marry, Jemanesh got married and was soon pregnant. Unfortunately, her husband left her when he found out that she was pregnant. Her fate was to raise her child as a single parent.

Some years later, Jemanesh got pregnant to her second child. Once again, her husband left her after she gave birth to her daughter. Life became difficult for her as she had to earn a living working as a daily laborer. Luckily, she came across FSCE AK APO with the help of the Woreda and Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs Office. Then, FSCE provided her with 2,000.00 (two thousand Birr) as a start-up capital.

Then, Jemanesh started a new life. She bought 25kg of flour and started baking bread and with the remaining amount provided, she bought all the necessary educational materials for her children. She became successful and her income grew.

Her life has changed. She was able to send her children to school fulfilling the necessary educational materials. Her son is now promoted to Grade 10; he even ranked 5th in his class. Her daughter is promoted to Grade 3 and she is also doing very well at shcool. Jemanesh’s home is more complete now than ever before. No one in the family has to miss any meals of the day now. She has bought a comfortable sofa, a TV, and a DVD player. She has constructed one more bedroom for her son, who is now becoming of age. Jemanesh has also opened a savings account at Dashen Bank and has already saved 1,200.00 (one thousand two hundred Birr). She has a weekly savings, too.

Overall, now Jemanesh is fully confident to speak about the change in her life. She also has a big dream of opening her own bakery. Currently, her capital has reached more than 10,000 Birr.

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