Helping end forced migration for girls in Ethiopia

Helping end forced migration for girls in Ethiopia
“I wish for my community - especially girls - to stay in their country.” - Sewnet, 13, Ethiopia

In 2017, we spoke with 13-year-old Sewnet in Ethiopia, whose mother Worknesh briefly considered allowing her daughter to migrate on her own for work. The family had not come to this decision lightly. When young girls migrate, they risk trafficking, violence, homelessness or abuse en route or upon arrival at their destination. But at home, drought, poverty and severe food insecurity made their situation untenable. Worknesh was forced to make an impossible choice.

A preteen girl smiles for the camera

13-year-old Sewnet and young girls like her are at risk for child migration which can lead to dangers such as trafficking, violence, homelessness or abuse.

At that time, Sewnet, who aspires to be a doctor, expressed a simple wish: “I wish for my community - especially girls - to stay in their country.”

In commemoration of International Women’s Day 2020, Canadian Feed The Children is proud to announce that with the generous gift of $1 million from The Slaight Family Foundation, we can make this wish come true for thousands of Ethiopian girls and women.


CFTC has partnered with The Slaight Family Foundation to create The Slaight Livelihood and Gender Equality Fund, which will champion the human rights of women and girls in Ethiopia and help end their forced migration.

To achieve this, the Slaight Livelihood and Gender Equality Fund will help girls finish their education and support new female-led sustainable businesses. The Fund will also support community-led advocacy campaigns to promote women and girls’ rights, as well as a much needed study on child migration to inform future prevention efforts. This multipronged approach will help reduce discrimination against women and girls, and empower them to build an economically stable future in a country where only 6% of rural women have access to credit.

CFTC is one of 15 organizations chosen by The Slaight Family Foundation to help improve human rights and opportunities for women and girls worldwide.

The aim of this gift is to improve conditions for women and girls living in difficult circumstances, who represent some of the world’s most vulnerable populations,” says Gary Slaight of The Slaight Family Foundation.

This partnership furthers CFTC’s important work to increase Ethiopian women and girls’ economic participation and promote their rights,” says Jacquelyn Wright, President & CEO of CFTC. “We thank The Slaight Family Foundation for this timely and important gift, and are proud to partner with them for this initiative.”


A mother and her preteen daughter sit with their arms fondly on one another

"Many of the children going abroad are abused in many different ways. Moreover they have no chance to continue their education once they are out of the country. Many of them come back empty handed and some died while working there.” - Worknesh, Ethiopia

Sewnet’s mother Worknesh did not have to make that impossible choice in the end. Thanks to a new beekeeping and honey business made possible through the support of caring CFTC donors, Worknesh was able to diversify her income and provide for the whole family. All of her children eat well, and Sewnet is finishing her education.

Now, as income is increasing, I will not allow my child to go abroad to work as a maid,” Worknesh told us.

Thanks to The Slaight Family, more women like Worknesh will be economically empowered, and more girls like Sewnet will be able to finish their education and transform their futures.

Just ask Meron, who, thanks to similar supports from CFTC

A woman poses in her market stall with the dress she has sewn

"I want to be a model for the other young women and girls, particularly for those in deep poverty.” - Meron, Ethiopia. Because of CFTC support, Meron finished school, won a business competition and now owns a successful tailoring business.

programs, was able to finish her education. Once she graduated, she had the knowledge and skills she needed to pitch at a local business competition - which she won. She used her winnings to start a successful tailoring business.

I want to be a model for the other young women and girls, particularly for those in deep poverty,” she says.

It’s this transformational change that will be possible thanks to the Slaight Livelihood and Gender Equality Fund. We are grateful to have received this gift, and are proud to join with the Slaight Family, our partner communities in Ethiopia, and all of our engaged supporters to give thousands of girls like Sewnet and Meron a chance to thrive.