When Almaz (27) joined the project Women’s Health Association of Ethiopia (WHAE) in 2009, she was in a very difficult place. Becoming part of WHAE’s women’s group changed everything. The women in the group decided to start a restaurant; with the help of PfC they were able to do just that, and for Almaz all’s well that began well.
Almaz lives in a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of the city Bahir Dar in Ethiopia, a place where tourists go to experience beautiful scenery, the pleasant climate and see the source of the Nile. Together with about 30 other underprivileged and marginalised women she was recruited to join WHAE’s women’s group, which among other things, works with health education. The women’s group in Bahir Dar quickly became an asset in their local community, and when they wished to make money for the organisation’s health work, they started a simple, small café. The café quickly became a local success, and the women discovered that running a hospitality business was something they enjoyed and excelled at. So they decided to think big.
As the WHAE and PfC discussed the project, ambitions grew and PfC raised funds for the project from the foundation Et rikere liv, an organisation founded by Formuesforvaltning’s employees. The money was spent on renovating a building where they could open the business, and Almaz and the other women opened a restaurant that serves Ethiopian food for the tourist market. The restaurant quickly proved a success; the tourists arrived in droves and today almost 80 women work there.
The income from the restaurant has changed Almaz’s life. She used to live with a husband who beat her; none of their children went to school. Once she was able to make her own money she could divorce her husband, take her children with her and move to a home of her own. Her children now attend school, and Almaz’s life has been transformed. To top it all, she has met the love of her life. For Almaz, and for her children, financial independence was a terrific fresh start.