From solitary confinement to empowering others
Yewoinshet, in-country partner for Global Development Group project J750N Direct Reach Ethiopia, has an amazing story. Born to a farming family more than 500 km outside of Addis Ababa, only some privileged boys enjoyed the opportunity of attending school. Ambitious to learn and angry that she could not go, Yewoinshet went on a hunger strike in protest until her parents allowed her to be educated.
Ten-year-old Yewoinshet went to a school 32 km away in Harar and stayed at a Catholic monastery. It was there that ‘Sister Terese’ inspired her to help others as she lovingly cared for orphaned children. Yewoinshet later also worked as a volunteer for displaced people during the Ethiopian–Somalian War.
When the Emperor of Ethiopia was overthrown, Yewoinshet’s family was declared an enemy of the State. Her family’s property was confiscated and she witnessed her family and friends brutally murdered, mutilated or imprisoned. Yewoinshet was also imprisoned for three years in solitary confinement with only five minutes of sunlight per day. Starved, beaten, burnt and frequently assaulted, Yewoinshet survived on pure inner strength and faith.
There are many more chapters to her story (she has penned six books including, ‘Strong Shoulders’ and ‘Titi’s Day Out’) and has been invited to HIV/AIDS conferences, groups and even invited to the White House, to share from her experience.
Today Yewoinshet works tirelessly to empower orphans and other disadvantaged people, helping them find hope and a future, through children’s homes, education, youth centres, and community education. Many of the sponsored children continue to win university scholarships in many professions, including engineering, medicine and law. Project J750N was recently audited by the Ethiopian government and performed extremely well.
If you would like to donate to project J750N Direct Reach Ethiopia: