Schewaye’s story in Addis Ababa Ethiopia – Photographing for the adera foundation

Standing with Schewaye in Ethiopia

The reoccurring theme from this year’s trip to Ethiopia was stories of hardworking, intelligent, and capable women whose potential had been several overlooked and underutilized until now. 

Listening to stories of women and their children who suffered abuse, especially from those who God designed to protect them, is difficult to hear. 

Thank God for organizations like Adera who walk beside these women, providing job training and income from making beautiful jewelry that is sold in the US. The proceeds offer a living wage that allows moms to provide the basics for their families .

These programs are not to be confused with a handout, far from it. These are strong women who have a sense of pride in their newfound strength and independence. No longer are they at the mercy of those who abuse. They can provide food for their children who are receiving an education through Adera child sponsorship, providing options for lasting change.  

Over the last five years, I have photographed many of the 100+ moms in the Adera program. I’ve witnessed smiling faces of moms with beautiful children who receive care at the Adera daycare. On this trip, I wanted to show more of their lives, visit their homes, and see how they live.  

Schewaye’s story is one of my favorites. She is one of the “bead moms” in the Adera program. 

She is a hard-working, 38-year-old Ethiopian mother of an eight-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter. The poverty here is so severe that mothers like her are at risk of losing their children; her husband has a history of abusing her. It is all just so unthinkable and tragic. 

With the money she earns making beads, it gives stability to her life and far more important, a sense of worth and self-respect. Adera has walked beside her for over five years and has transformed her life. 

While photographing Schewaye, she started telling her story of abuse. I instinctively flipped my still camera to video mode to capture her story. She became emotional as she told of the abuse inflicted upon her by her husband. There is a moment around the 30-second point where her voice becomes strong, and she raises her hand in a show of strength as she describes her new sense of self-worth by being able to support herself and her children. She explained how that with her newfound income through Adera and her sense of worth found in God, she no longer has to tolerate the abuse and reported her husband to the police.

In our interview, it became clear that Adera has empowered Schewaye and given her a sense of self-respect and worth that has changed her life. 

My time with Schewaye, exchanging stories, hugging, and shedding tears together was exceptional.

“Adera Foundation shares the Gospel in both word and deed, transforming the lives of the poor with help and true hope.” 

To learn more about how you can be a part of changing lives in Ethiopia, please see the Adera website.

For all the Adera stories select Adera from the organization’s menu 


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