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Friday, September 25, 2015

Sidama, Southern Ethiopia
Ethiopia - Participant & IFor this work, I partnered with 2 Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs). The first was in the Southern Ethiopia region of Sidama, where I partnered with an NGO that focuses on teaching women literacy and numeracy. Although the Sidama region is rich in natural resources such as coffee, avocado, fruits and vegetables, poverty is rampant. The women that we worked with earn their living from the land. They sell their vegetables or coffee to support their families and earn an average of USD$10.00 / month. It appears that many are financially responsible for bringing up their children and I quickly identified the importance of financial literacy skills. Most of these women didn’t go to school as they needed to help their mothers while growing up and the expectation was that they would marry young, at about 14 years old. A majority of the workshop participants were 25 years old with 3 to 7 children.
The aim of this project was to offer Life Skills and Financial Literacy to inspire and empower them by providing practical tools that could be applied in their daily lives. All the workshops were translated into the local language, Sidama; a local facilitator was trained and over two weeks the women participated in workshops which included building confidence, financial literacy, 5 healthy habits and entrepreneurship skills. These women live in desperate situations, lacking opportunities but I felt incredibly inspired and amazed by their willingness to learn and their dedication to apply themselves to the activities and practise using the tools. They acknowledged that the programme could be the key to a brighter future. The impact of the workshops is best summed up by the women themselve:
“Even if we are very poor, you are motivating us to come out of poverty. I have learned that I need to save in the coffee season, so I have money in the rainy season. PurpleLily gives me financial knowledge and hope. I have learned a lot from PurpleLily. I’m confident and hopeful.”   Tayech, 25 years old, 3 children
“I have learned a lot this week. I’m a single mother with 4 children and I often feel discouraged, worried and sad. I feel the PurpleLily workshops have given me hope and knowledge. I especially appreciated learning how to do breathing activities to calm my mind and be positive.”   Zeriytu, 25 years old, 4 children.
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