A woman and her teenage daughter standing in front of a wood fence, smiling for the camera

Meskerem can dream big, thanks to Mom

“I want to be a doctor when I grow up. I want to treat patients. I always worry when I see too many sick people sitting in the hospital just waiting their turn to visit the doctor. I want to contribute to the health sector in the future.” – Meskerem, 14, EthiopiaMr. WordPress

At 14 years old, Meskerem is very clear about her plans for the future. She wants to finish her education and become a doctor. Thanks to her mother Shitaye, and supported by CFTC donors, Meskerem has the opportunity to do it.

Shitaye never had a chance to finish school. Her parents did not value education for girls, and gave her so many responsibilities at home that she couldn’t keep up with her studies. She loved taking part in athletics – she’s an excellent runner – but had to give it all up when her mother became ill. At 16, her parents arranged a marriage for her.

A teenager girl smiles for a portrait for the camera

Fourteen year old Meskerem has big dreams and thanks to her mother’s tireless effort and help from CFTC donors, her dreams can be a reality.

Shitaye and her husband struggled to support their five children. They depended on income from a small plot of land and some livestock, but didn’t make enough money to provide healthy food every day. Fresh foods and vegetables were in short supply when money ran out to buy them, and Shitaye watched as her children’s health suffered and their interest in school waned. She did not want her children to go through the same challenges she faced as a child and was determined to make a change.


Shitaye joined a savings and loan group supported by generous CFTC donors like you. This changed everything for the family. For most of her life she was unbanked – now she has gained crucial financial management skills.Through the group, she learned how to diversify her income, and started a home garden to grow crops to eat and sell. She also increased her yields from her plot by planting corn, wheat and teff during the rainy season when vegetable growing is not possible.

She’s seen a big difference in her family: “Now better, nutritious food is at my table. The health of my family is good since I started to produce vegetables and fruits.”

As for Meskerem, Shitaye is pleased that the extra income is keeping her well fed and focused on her studies. Meskerem enjoys a variety of healthy foods – her favourite is the fresh tomato from the family plot. She is studying hard to be a doctor: “I want to be a doctor when I grow up. I want to treat patients. I always worry when I see too many sick people sitting in the hospital just waiting their turn. That’s why I want to contribute to the health sector in the future.”

A mother and her teenage daughter harvest their cabbage crops in their field

Shitaye, because of donor support, was able to start a home garden. Not only does the family have extra money from selling produce, but they have a more balanced diet.

Thank you for supporting women and girls like Shitaye and Meskerem

Meskerem can still look forward to a brighter future, thanks to her mother’s determination and CFTC donor support. But for many others like her, the future is more precarious than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic is still reshaping society, but it is becoming clear that girls and women around the world are now at higher risk of gender-based violence, dropping out of school and early marriage because of the crisis.

That’s why your continued support for girls and women like Meskerem and Shitaye has been so necessary. Because of you, the family has built a stable farming business that will feed them and earn income, despite the new challenges they will face. Meskerem is still on her path to becoming a doctor, and Shitaye has a chance to see all of her children’s dreams come true.

I want to thank you for your multidimensional contribution to my life,” Shitaye says. “Thank you for supporting me and my family.”

There’s food on the table all year long when farmers have the seeds, tools and knowledge to grow veggies in the dry season!
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Finance and business skills training gained from community-led microfinance programs take women and children out of poverty and into a brighter future.
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Sponsor a child for just $33/month and help change a child’s life.   Find out more

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