Abraham has recently started working as the Projects Co-ordinator for the Shutafut charitable association, Meketa's partner charity in Gondar
Shutafut is a recently founded charity association to support the Jewish community in Gondar, and I am the livelihood projects coordinator of the association. I had prior experiences of working with Income Generating Projects (IGPs) and I found working for Shutafut is really fascinating. Initiating IGP business idea, empowering clients to work and earn money, and showing them
the way how to use their real potential is good for me, and that’s what I am doing as livelihood projects coordinator. I support my clients in small business planning and giving ongoing professional support to manage their revenue.
Shutafut is supporting Jewish people living in Gondar. Most of the community members are waiting to move to Israel and to meet some of their relatives there. I am not Jewish, but I was raised in a village in Gondar province where most of Jewish community members reside till they got their exit visa. I am not a stranger to Jewish culture as for I spent my childhood with Jewish community members as a neighbor. Most Jewish people came from rural areas of Gojjam and Gondar provinces to Gondar city to wait for the exit visa. They came to the city with a very big aspiration of moving to Israel and they wish for living better quality of life and meeting their relatives in Israel. Unfortunately, they stay in Gondar longer than they expect, for the process of getting visa. During this time, they face a livelihood challenge to live and work in a big city like Gondar and it is indeed challenging and quite different to the life they had before in rural areas. They came to Gondar with aspiration of moving to Israel and they sold almost all of their assets in rural areas and stayed in Gondar as a transition to Israel, but after some time they got into financial hardship when waiting for the visa and the process becomes delayed. To this end, they became economically dependent to their relatives’ donation from Israel and sometimes they feel desperate to change their life.
What Shutafut works to change is this dependency habit through supporting the community both psychologically and economically. I and my colleagues
support our clients in building their self-esteem and we work to see them independent. Shutafut works to improve the livelihood of different individuals, for example in our microloan project we transferred interest free revolving loan and enable clients to engage in small scale Income generating activities. Therefore, the loan takers will return back the money in a fixed long period of time and allowed for some grace period to build their business. The loan is transferred within a written agreement between Shutafut Charity Association and the Loan takers, and the returned money will be deposited to Shutafut’s bank account and recycled to support other beneficiaries. Some of the active business activities that our clients working are vegetables retail, grain retail, processing edible butter, selling charcoal, baking Injera (staple food for Ethiopians), and sewing and mending cloths.
In our work, we are changing most families’ life from hand to mouth way of living to self-sufficient and independent living. We are also successful in building higher self-esteem to our clients.
- Bringing attitudinal change about doing business with a very small capital is a change, because our clients build high enthusiasm and commitment of work with small capital to reach for a big capital business.
- Managing small business, making profit and paying loan regularly is a change, because it shows as our clients are functioning well in the business.
- Helping family members by themselves is a change, because we are observing as most of our clients are getting financial relief and feed their family well.
- Not considering donation from relatives in Israel as the only means of finance is a change, because our clients are now doing own small business and they learn how to earn money for basic living; they are independent.
- Better hope for tomorrow and optimistic attitude about their present life is a change, because most of our clients are now happy to work for their livelihood till they get the visa to Israel.
I am proud to work for Shutafut and to enlighten for the disadvantageous. I am also happy to see the change we bring to them. I encouraged you (whoever read this blog) to support disadvantaged segment of the community compassionately and empathetically as much as you can either financially or professionally under the principle of this well said proverb:
“Give a man a fish, and he will be hungry again to-morrow; teach him to catch a fish, and he will be richer all his life.”