boy in school

Whether you have a GED or you’re a doctor, you’ve been impacted by the education and training you have received, as it has affected your employment opportunities, your income, and your ability to pursue other opportunities. Literacy—the basic ability to read and write—impacts everything from cooking and navigation to making purchases and using a bank account.

For the vulnerable families we serve, prioritizing mental care and education can offer hope, security, and a way out of poverty. Investing in the mental capacity of both the caregivers and the children we care for is both fundamentally necessary and abundantly rewarding.

We asked Zewditu to summmarize—in one word—what the World Orphans program and the local church have meant to her. 

We asked Zewditu to summmarize—in one word—what the World Orphans program and the local church have meant to her. 

When we met Zewditu, she was still in the process of grieving her husband’s death, and she had placed her children in the care of others, hoping that they would have the opportunity to have a better life than she could provide. She was trying to make ends meet by washing clothes and working at a local plantation, but it simply was not enough.

Zewditu was devastated when she learned that her youngest child—whom she thought was receiving good care—was not being sent to school. Zewditu began voicing her frustrations to one of her clients, a woman whose clothes she washed, and the woman told her about the World Orphans Home Based Care (HBC) Program at a local church.

When Meskerem of the HBC Program learned that Zewditu had placed her children in other homes, she encouraged her to pursue bringing them home, “They lost their father. There shouldn’t be a shortage of love from their mother.” Motivated by this advice and supported by the local church, Zewditu brought her daughters home.

Today, through education on savings, training on business management, and additional resources, Zewditu has her own business selling food at the local market. With the church’s support and her increased income, Zewditu was able to move into a bigger home that better accommodates her business. She shares a life and a home with her two daughters.

My life is improving constantly. The monthly support means a lot for my life. I remember serving my kids dry corn, not even with oil; now I can cook good food for them and send them with a lunchbox.
— Zewditu

Dansure, Zewditu’s oldest child, is 15 years old and her mother’s pride and joy. In addition to helping her mother around the house, Dansure is a very disciplined student who prides herself on being at the top of her class—a goal she worked hard to achieve. She loves her mother and is grateful for her encouragement in the area of education—an opportunity not afforded to Zewditu.

What does prioritizing mental health and education in Ethiopia look like? It looks like an impoverished mother learning to establish and grow her own business. It looks like family reunification. It looks like a 15-year-old girl with goals for her future and a bright smile on her face as she says, “I ranked first in my class.”