The Loom Project has been a process. I do not know of too many people that are familiar with weaving, putting a loom machine together or the art of collecting threads, let alone putting an intricate pattern together!
That is when Blessing the Children decided to get expertise to help! In the above picture, is a famous Ethiopian loom artist. He came, and for multiple days worked with about fourteen of our mothers on how to use a loom. From threading the machine, to how to pick out the thread, to weaving patterns, we have seen some great progress, we have also seen a lot of challenges. One great challenge has been learning to budget. This concept is not a very well know practice throughout Ethiopia in general and for those who comprehend it tends to themselves be business people of some kind! This is a hurdle we are continuing to work on and overcome!
Below are each of the individual mothers who have been impacted by the loom project. Click below to hear some of their stories!
Bezuayehu Mamo is 25 years old with one child, Meron Yakob (7 years). She grew up in Bacajou, which is about 2 hours from Bishoftu, where she has lived 18 years now. She first moved to Bishoftu in order to go to school, and reached Grade 10 before having to drop out.
She remembers the day that Blessing the Children first entered them into the Life Sponsorship program, because her child had been crying when they saw another family in the area be visited by BCC staff and missionaries. When those staff noticed her child's tears, they immediately came to their aid.
She says that the Income for Life program gives her great hope for herself and her child, because she knows that if she works hard her products will sell and she's guaranteed an income. Her vision for the future is that one day they'll be able to employ as many as 200 people in the loom project, and that it will become a very large and well known company.
Abebech Berga is is 25 years old with 1 child, Yohanis Gezign (10 years old). She grew up in Koletta, about 2 hours away from Bishoftu. She was brought to Bishoftu as a little girl to live with her Uncle. She attended school in Bishoftu until Grade 10.
Blessing the Children first discovered Abebech's family when one of our social workers, Tigist, met her.
Abebech is very hopeful for the Loom Project, stating that Ethiopia has a shortage of looms and weavers, and she knows that if they work hard they can get bigger. Her hope for the future is that one day soon they'll be able to fill the entire warehouse with looms.
Bezunesh Neguse is 36 years old with 2 children in our Life Sponsorship program, and one more who is not enrolled. Atchwuchala is 4, Sayume Debaba is 11, and Asegete Debaba is 13. She was born in Bishoftu and has lived her whole life here, and attended a local school until Grade 9.
Blessing the Children first found Bezunesh's family when a member of Lem Lem church, Aster, employed her to cook and clean. Aster then told her about Blessing the Children and encouraged her to seek us out for help.
Bezunesh believes in the power of work and purpose, gaining hope from Income for Life for not only a sustainable income, but for a change to come in both herself and her family through the program. She dreams of the Loom Project one day being big enough that they can begin to export their products to other countries.
Werke Shumi is 37 years old and has one child, Geleta (11 years old). She grew up in Dekaka, an hour away from Bishoftu, and attended school there up to Grade 3. 18 Years ago she moved to Bishoftu with her husband.
Werke had heard about the Loom Project from BCC and enrolled in the training 5 months ago. She has "very big hope" for the loom project, and is happy to be working in such a good job.
Werke has a very big heart, and she is very eager to use her income from the Loom Project not only for her family, but to help others that she knows are in need as well. Her vision for the Loom Project is only just beginning, but she can't wait to see more looms purchased and to have a lot more work to do!
Maza Tariku is 33 years old and has one child, Abe. She grew up in Jema, which is in the far south of Ethiopia, and attended school there until Grade 9. She first moved to Bishoftu with her husband several years ago.
Maza was one of our first moms to enroll in the Loom Project, and has seen it grow from an idea into reality.
Maza has great hope in the Loom Project, saying that as long as God is with us and with BCC, there will always be hope. She believes the project will not only give hope to her family and others enrolled in the program, but that it will give hope to many more who see it grow. She strongly believes that in the future the Loom Project will grow with God's help.
Menbere G'Meske is 35 years old with 2 children. Her eldest, Howie Degaga, is 17 years old, and her youngest, Yepserafsa is 8. She grew up in Meki, which she says is very far away from Bishoftu, and attended school until Grade 3. 15 years ago she moved to Bishoftu with her husband and toddler.
Menbere heard about the Loom Project through her friend Nigist, who attends Zion Church. She enrolled in the program 2 months ago and attended training.
Menbere is very hopeful for the Loom Project. She says that if you work hard you can not only sell the products you make, but you can make good changes in yourself. She looks forward to a future where there are many more looms filling the warehouse, and the company is much bigger.
Almaz Tulema is 32 years old and has 3 children enrolled in the Life Sponsorship program, and one child who is not. Her eldest is Yisak, 12 years old, then Yakob, age 10, Mussie, age 9, and baby Deborah, who is 1 year old. She grew up in Bakajo, which is 1 hour away from Bishoftu. She moved to Bishoftu 22 years ago when she accepted Christ. In Bakajo it is common to follow old tribal beliefs, worshiping demons and idols, so after accepting Christ she felt she could no longer stay there.
Almaz has never had opportunity to go to school before, so when Pastor Tadesse met her family and encouraged her to train in the loom project, she was very excited to do so and became one of our first Moms in the project.
Almaz says that she has found great hope in Jesus, and now even more hope in finding the Loom Project. She believes that the change she will see in herself and her family as she works hard for the Loom Project will be very good. She is currently looking forward to the day that there are at least 10 looms for them to use, and knows that the Loom Project is sure to grow.
Astere Abebe is 30 years old and has one child, Selam, age 3. She grew up in Bishoftu and attended school there until Grade 6.
One of the BCDO office workers, Yeshi, first told her about the Blessing the Children, encouraging her to enroll her child in Life Sponsorship and to enroll herself in the Loom Project.
Astere has great hope in the Loom Project. She believes that with hard work, she's sure to succeed and that she will be able to change both herself and her family. She looks forward to the day when at least 50 or 60 women are employed by the Loom Project, and can't wait for it to grow larger than it already is.
Samrawite Ali is 30 years old and has 3 children. Elsabat is 12 years old, Bereket 11, and Tigist 6. She grew up in Gualo, which is a day and a half travel from Bishoftu. She first moved to Bishfotu 19 years ago by an Uncle after her Mother died and her Father abandoned her. The intention was that she would attend school in Bishoftu, but her situation with her Uncle was no good, so she found herself working instead of going to school.
A few years ago Samrawite met one of our social workers, Getu, at Emmanuel Church. Getu brought her school aged child to BCI Academy, but after Samrawite cried over the plight of her other children Getu quickly did everything he could to enroll them all in the Life Sponsorship program.
Samrawite is incredibly thankful for all BCC has done for her family, and can't believe that she is able to work as a loom weaver. She never thought she would be capable of working in such a good profession and is grateful for being given such a good job in a good building! One day she hopes to see the entire warehouse full of looms, workers, and products and is working very hard to help the project grow.
Mhadi Haleform is 27 years old and has one child, Tezeta, age 14. She grew up in Meccane, which is a full day's journey away from Bishoftu, where she attended school until Grade 8. Mhadi and her family were very poor in Meccane and couldn't find good work there, so they moved to Bishoftu 14 years ago seeking employment.
Mhadi was attending Meskana Church when she first heard about Blessing the Children and both their Life Sponsorship program and the Loom Project.
Mhadi is hoping for big changes in her life through the Loom project. She sees it growing very large, and knows that with hard work they will succeed.
Tshaye Sida is 50 years old and has one child, Natnael, age 10. She grew up in Showwa, which is 2 hours away by foot. She first came to Bishoftu 10 years ago to visit an Aunt, and decided to stay! She says she really liked the city, so she moved her entire family there.
Tshaye has never been to school before, so when Nigist from Zion Church told her about the opportunity to receive training and a good job through the Loom Program, she was happy to apply!
Tshaye believes in hard work and enjoys seeing how the project continues to grow. She is very happy being part of the Loom Project, and thinks that someday if they work very hard their families may actually be rich!
Webalem Mesfen is 36 years old and has 3 children. Her eldest is 17 years old, named Bezayehu, Haymanot is 14, and Wasihun is 10. She grew up in Gondor, which is 8-10 hours north of Bishoftu. When she was 8, she moved to Asmara, then to Bishoftu when she was 13. She has never had opportunity to go to school.
Goldi, one of Blessing the Children's social workers, met Webalem at Meskana Church and enrolled her children in the Life Sponsorship program, then later enrolled her in the Loom Project.
Webalem is seldom seen without a smile while she's at work, saying that she found great hope in the Loom Project from the moment she began her training. She says the first step will be to work very hard and start making money, and then they will see it grow much bigger. She hopes to work in the Loom Project for as long as God allows her.
Tigist Waqgira is 28 years old, with 3 children. Her eldest is Philemon, age 13, and her youngest are 4 year old twins, Beleane and Mastewot. She grew up in Welaga, which is 12 hours away, but spent some years begging on the streets of Addis with her eldest child.
Tigist's son Philemon was originally a Compassion child, sponsored by a man named Brad. Brad discovered Blessing the Children and realized there were things we were able to offer Philemon and Tigist that Compassion couldn't, so he sought to bring Philemon into our program instead. Now Philemon is with our Life Sponsorship program, and his Mom is very happy to be given the opportunity to have a good job and income.
Tigist is filled with hope by the Loom Project, never dreaming she would go from begging on the streets to creating beautiful woven cloths in the Loom Project. She insists that she will work very hard, and work hard to change herself as well for the better. She can't wait to see her dreams realized as the program grows bigger, because though she has great hope now, she knows that her hope can only grow in the future.
Meselu Yesitela is 32 years old, with 2 children. Tigist is her youngest child, at 16 years old, and her eldest, Biniam, is 17. She grew up in Zeguala, which is 3 hours away from Bishoftu and moved to here as a little girl to live with her Aunt after her parents died. She attended school until Grade 5.
Meskana church first connected Meselu and her family with Blessing the Children.
Meselu has hope for the future because she knows how to work hard, and she can see that the Loom Project is a very good program that is sure to succeed. She looks forward to the day that the new warehouse is completely full, and wants to work hard to see the project grow.
Yelfashewa Gutema is 50 years old and has 4 grown children of her own, and one adopted daughter enrolled in the Life Sponsorship program. Her eldest child is Marot, 27, then Adane, 24, Robel, 20, and Bereket, 18. Abonesh (13 years old), is her adopted daughter. Yelfashewa grew up a short distance southeast of Bishoftu, in Nazret. She first moved to Bishoftu 29 years ago because her sister lived here, intending to pursue her education. After moving, she met her husband and got married.
Yelfashewa is very ambitious and motivated! She pursued her education all the way to grade 12, then spent 2 years getting a certificate to work as a cashier, followed by certification for cooking. She not only works as a manager of the Loom Project, but can also be found working as a hired cook for many of our missionaries (and her food is some of the best you'll find in Bishoftu!).
Since she worked for Blessing the Children and our missionaries, she met many of the families involved in our programs. One of those families was the family of Abonesh. Abonesh's father had died, and the family that took her in were not very good, so Yelfashewa was inspired to adopt Abonesh herself and take her in.
Yelfashewa says she has a great hope in the Loom Project. The training the Moms receive is very good, and she believes if everyone works hard they will not only be able to sell their products all over Bishoftu or througout Ethiopia, but one day will be able to sell them across the world. Her next goal is to find a way for the project to buy more looms, so that no Moms will have to share looms with eachother. She hopes one day they will be so busy keeping up with the demand for their products that they will complain that there is not enough time, and that maybe they'll grow so large they will have to hire other women from outside Blessing the Children's programs to meet demands. With dreams like that, it's no surprise to us that she is one of our stars, and has been promoted to Manager!
Emebet Hailu is 30 years old, and is the Aunt of Mulugeta and Terefe Hailu, two of our first children in the Life Sponsorship program. She grew up in Koftu, which is 3 hours from Bishoftu. She dropped out of school at 14 years old, so she's currently attending night school to work towards her diploma.
When Emebet was 14, she got married, dropping out of school. Unfortunately, her married life was not at all good, so 15 years ago she divorced her husband and moved to Bishoftu. She discovered Blessing the Children after the tragic deaths of her sister and her brother-in-law, leaving her and her new husband to care for her newly orphaned nephews, as well as another niece and nephew they had taken in, and her own two sons! They took them in in faith that God would somehow provide and the belief that He expected generosity despite how little they had to give. God has since rewarded that faith in finding Mulugeta and Terefe sponsors, and giving Emebet new hope in the Loom Project.
Emebet intends to work very hard for the Loom Project, saying that if she works hard it will be a good example and will help to bring the other Moms hope. She can't wait to buy more looms, continue to work hard, and to employ more Moms as the project grows.