Fair Trade Tuesday!
The students’ mothers come to Fresh and Green Academy at least once per week to work in the Mothers Cooperative. You’ll find them working in the newly created looming area weaving colorful scarfs. They can weave four scarfs in a day, knowing every item sold helps them provide food for their families.
You might imagine the moms to be in their late thirties with their solemn, lined faces talking softly among themselves. Looks can be deceiving: most are in their twenties and early 30s, which is middle-aged in Ethiopia. Life expectancy is only 45.
Sit and talk with them and you’ll learn some of their stories: most grew up in small villages. In the 1980s, when most of them were children, it was a time of great famine in Ethiopia. And so they moved to Addis Ababa as soon as they got into their teens, thinking it would be the land of opportunity. But there was no work, or food to be found. Some of them turned to prostitution as the only way of staying alive. Most got pregnant, and most got HIV.
That is one common thread that runs through their lives. But the other commonality is this: Through Fresh and Green they have been given back their dignity: through the weaving and craft sales, they are able to afford food for themselves and their children. Most importantly, the meals they are now able to afford help them qualify for the life-saving anti-retroviral medicine that has turned AIDS from a fatal to a manageable disease. Muday has held classes in health and hygiene and they have learned how to keep themselves and their families healthy and strong. They have formed a sisterhood of trust and friendship in a city where life can be very unforgiving; in short, they are thriving.
Through Muday’s vision, the entire neighborhood of Kotebe has been transformed. With your help, not just the students, but their mothers have been given this one invaluable thing called hope.