New Hope: Bireke & Yosef’s Story
Bireke was born in Oromia region and spent her first fourteen years of life living in a rural impoverished area with her family, who was very poor. She came to Addis Ababa (the capital city of Ethiopia) for what she hoped would be a better life at age 14.
She starts working as a housemaid to support herself and her family. She said she had a plan to go to one of the Arab countries and change her family’s life for the better. But life for Ethiopian women in those countries is not good. This life opportunity was not what she had expected. Young Bireke was repeatedly molested by her male employers. After suffering years of sexual abuse her world became even more difficult when the abuse led to an unwanted pregnancy. She returned to Ethiopia and after giving birth to a boy, Yosef, she took up work as a day laborer in order to feed him. Balancing insecure employment, variable daily income, and the demands of life as a single mother with no one to help her was “difficult,” to say the least. The money she earned was never even enough to buy food for her son and herself. In the midst of her struggle to provide for her family, “I got sick repeatedly but I didn’t know that I was HIV positive.” said Bireke.
But God has a plan and a new hope for Bireke and Yosef! Yosef is now sponsored by Transformation Love. He is now seven years old and he is in Kindergarten. He likes learning English in class. He is fairly healthy. Bireke tells me that she is doing all she can to encourage her son to study hard so he can have opportunities that she has been denied. Without an education, Yosef would have few choices. He would end up working for little pay in bad conditions, or worse. Without an education, Yosef won’t have a chance to improve his life and the lives of those in his community.
Without Transformation Love, Yosef would not be able to attend school. The Transformation Love child sponsorship program brought a lot of changes in this family. Bireke told me with that big smile lighting up her face, “now Yosef is able to attend in private school and I can put injera (a tradition Ethiopian bread) on the table always. She said that the sponsorship program provides Yosef and her with improved healthcare and support, emphasizing medical assistance for people like her who are affected by HIV and AIDS.
The ever-present smile on Bireke’s face keeps getting bigger and bigger and there is a sense something is changing and becoming different about her. She has a new hope that is slowly emerging like the blooming of a flower.
It’s always amazing to see people’s wounds being healed and it’s always exiting to hear people express praise to God with so much joy.
Hallelujah, Nahom - Transformation Love Ethiopia Staff Social Worker!