A one on one session with AWiBs 2013 Women of Excellence

A room full of AWiB members and eager fans gathered to celebrate and hear the incredible and inspirational stories of our 2013 Women of Excellence on December 5.2013.

A room full of AWiB members and eager fans gathered to celebrate and hear the incredible and inspirational stories of our 2013 Women of Excellence on December 5.2013.

Wro. Melika Bedri, a dedicated civil servant was our first speaker for the evening. Wro. Melika is the vice president of information systems at the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia. Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Wro. Melika joined the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia upon receiving her college diploma. Whilst serving the bank, Melika got married and raised three children. “I received my master’s degree the same day my son received his medical degree” noted Wro. Melika.  Education has no frontiers. Wro. Melika began her career as a junior clerk and worked her way up through various posts. ‘There is no limit for learning; there is no limit for self-development. I will continue to aspire to reach greater heights” explained Wro. Melika. “I have faced a lot of obstacles in the work place, but I know my fight is not yet over. I have a long way to go. I have a lot to learn” she further added.

In conveying her message for the evening, Wro. Melika explained to our members that life is full of challenges. But we must not fold when confronted with difficult situations, nor should we be frustrated; rather we need to face our challenges head on. “I strongly urge you to be committed to yourself and your goals” said Wro. Melika.

Wro. Mulu Haile, a development advocate for the urban poor was the second speaker for the night. Born in Tigray to a family of 13, Wro. Mulu holds a B.A in social work and a post graduate diploma in human rights. Her pursuit for education stems for her father’s progressive outlook and his dedication to serve his community. Completing her higher education at the school of social work presented trials and tribulations to Wro. Mulu. As it was a time of political unrest in the country, Wro. Mulus’ husband was imprisoned and she was left to raise her child alone. Surrounded and guided by courageous women and strong role models, Wro. Mulu completed her studies and was assigned to work for the Rehabilitation Agency for the Disabled within the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Wro Mulu then went on to land a job with the Integrated Holistic Approach-Urban Development program, an organization founded by AWiBs life time achievement awardee, Dr. Jember Teferra. ‘My role model is Wro. Jember. I have worked with her for many years and have learnt immensely under her guidance and leadership” remarked Wro. Mulu.

Wro. Mulu aspired to tackle the problems faced by the urban poor, especially that of women and children using a multi sectoral approach and integrated development model. She accomplished her dream, June of 1998 through the establishment of Mission for Community Development Program (MCDP).

A mother of two, a proud grandmother and our communities champion, Wro. Mulu maintains a modern family and shares her wealth of knowledge, skills and expertise to her staff.

Sara Mohammed, a selfless and visionary young woman was our third speaker for the night. Claiming AWiBs Women of Excellence award for 2013, Sara is a natural learner who sternly believes in investing in oneself and accumulating knowledge in diverse areas. Sara gave up the opportunity to pursue her secondary education in Haromaya University seeking better suited opportunities in our nation’s capital, Addis Ababa.  Sara worked as a part time model, participated in design competitions, and took courses on theatrical arts. Having modeled for a fashion competition, Face of Africa, organized by DStv, Sara travelled to France where she was presented with the opportunity to study fashion and work as a photo model.

Sara speaks of her experience in France with a saddened tone. ‘ As a model, I had to have a certain body size in relation to my height. I was anorexic and did not enjoy good health during my stay in France” explained Sara.  Sara yearned to move back to her home country, to establish her own business in the fashion industry. “I had a dream to teach women that were less fortunate than me and to make sure they improved their lives and are self-sufficient” said Sara.  She enjoys solving problems, and working for the benefit of others.  Sara is the founder and owner of Next Modeling School whose mandate is to empower women and enhance their skills in the area of designing and sewing.

Sara has not only conquered the fashion world, she is also an icon in the social world. Sara extends her support to those less fortunate than her enabling them to thrive. For all her accomplishments and triumphs, Sara deeply appreciates the grace of God and the support and guidance received by her role model, her mother.

Our last and final speaker for the evening was AWiBs life time achievement awardee, Dr. Jember Teffera. AWiB was thrilled to discover Dr. Jember, a graceful lady who embodied the principles of excellence. AWiB felt that being a woman of excellence however was not enough to celebrate and honor the decades of contributions made and impact created through dealing with the root cause of poverty.

Dr. Jember received AWiBs life time award achievement to acknowledge and celebrate her years of generosity, humility and monumental work fighting urban poverty. She has dedicated her time to improve the standard of living in her community. Founder of the Integrated Holistic Approach-Urban Development program (IHA-UDP), Dr. Jember has managed to raise 200,000,000 million birr building countless houses, re-building slums and creating hope for the mass.

Like my colleague Sara, I too look up to my mother’ began of Dr. Jember .  Raised in a privileged family, Dr. Jember gave ample and due credit to her mother who endowed her with values, principles and inspiration.  Dr. Jember spoke of her life’s calling. “Everybody needs to fill out their purpose in life” she explained.  “Not everything works out, but you need to keep trying. Your drive and your motivation must come from within” Dr. Jember further added.

Commenting on the questions and comments made from the audience, our women of excellence emphasized the support received from their husbands and family members.  It was well noted that women do have many roles, but being a mother is a natural and God given gift that must be seen as an opportunity and a blessing and not an obstacle.

Our final message for the night was “Change starts from within”. The Audience left feeling empowered and deeply inspired.

Share on your socials!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *