Recap EWiB April 7

Personal Power


Influence over others, the source of which resides in the person instead of being vested by the position he or she holds.

Well ladies;

We had our April meeting and we were simply in awe. EWiB showcased two of its members and flexed its muscles. We were inspired, energized and simply elated to be part of this group. As the above definition goes these two ladies: Tsegie Haile, CEO and founder of WISE and Zertihun Tefera, CEO and Founder of Siiqqee were simply about power. The power that comes not from position or family entitlement but from the influence they exert over thousands by their sheer personality and who they are. They are about commitment, about persistence, about overcoming adversity, about leading a purposeful life and about integrity. Simply put they are about leadership that we all long for. You need to know about these dynamic leaders of our community. Please find attached profile on both.

We celebrated (somewhat—real celebration is next month) our first anniversary with these two and all of us powerful ladies. We felt truly empowered. The turnout was great– many new faces and those of you who didn’t show up…well…what can I say, but you simply missed another opportunity to be inspired and really see what EWiB is made of. I wouldn’t miss any of these sessions of membership profiling. That is how we find about who we are and what our association looks like. As the saying goes, tell me who your friends are and I tell you who you are. In other words what EWiB is made of – the good earth…yes!

Our theme for the evening was “reflection on our community and what we can add”. We, as EWiB, one of our objectives is to give back to the community that sustains us all. We, therefore, presented a project by Good Shepherd; I have attached a profile of this dynamic NGO founded by an Ethiopian Diaspora and is being sustained by our own Simret, the project coordinator, who also presented the project to our group and a few of the great staff and boardmembers.

This project was brought to my attention by one of our members Samrawit Moges of Travel Ethiopia. She suggested that I visited this group at the Trade Fair organized by Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce last February. The theme of the Trade Fair was “Women Entrepreneurship for Development”. I met a few of the women aspiring to change their livelihood in incredible ways. However, one group in particular that is supported by Good Shepherd touched my heart. These women came from the poorest of the poor; those who exchange their bodies for food and little sustenance to their family; those who we know they are out there but don’t really open our eyes and ears to find who these human beings are. Well, Good Shepherd and the Netherlands Embassy brought them to our attention. They are supported — all 20 of them from this community– to change their lives for the better and are going through training of how to be a “Shemane”. They have to go six months of training ( three more to go) producing different types of household items and curtains, scarves, and the usual stuff. But they don’t stop there; the organizers and sponsors are getting these ladies producing gauze. This product that is so very crucial to any health facilities is not produced here in the country. These women are poised to produce gauze and put it out to the market—a huge market I might add.

So where do we fit in this whole picture? Are you sitting down? Of course you are, reading this message. When they finish their training, they would like to…you guessed it…. their own manufacturing company and we will buy their machines for them. Two of them go for thirty four thousand birr. How do we do it? We each contribute 340 birr…that’s all…not even enough to have lunch for two at the Hilton…right? And we each find another person to do so. Remember the circle of 100 we talked about at one of our meetings? We form that circle and we empower these ladies. Let’s make them feel secured ; let’s take their worries of where their next meal is coming from away…let’s help them from resorting to this degrading line of work. For our mothers, for our sisters, for our daughters and for our sons… let’s make this happen. During training, these women are given a small stipend for transportation, but guess what they do… walk several kilometers on foot and save this small stipend to save money for their machine. They need three and each machine costs 17,000 birr and is produced locally. Let them worry about the third one but we get them two. I got everyone’s OK at the meeting. This message is going out to all you, 133 great, accomplished ladies. We have three months to come up with the money. Every time you come bring some with you. That is your contribution to your greatest asset– EWiB that will bring you the network to build you block by block personally and professionally — a small price to pay; don’t you agree?

May your life be nothing but Happy and Fulfilling! May all the gods keep you under their wings.


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