A sponsored girl in Ethiopia rejoices at a golden opportunity she received to pursue her education comfortably, despite living in an impoverished community.
From the time when Yulia was a little girl, her parents hoped that their firstborn daughter would be able to attend school and prosper to become a successful woman in the future. But they were worried because, as a family living in poverty, they could barely meet their day-to-day needs, let alone provide what Yulia would need to attend school.
Ethiopia is one of the few African countries that offer free public education at primary, secondary, and university levels. This meant that Yulia, like most kids in her impoverished community, would be able to study to university levels free of charge.
However, for her to continue with her education, she needed food, health care, clothes, and shelter — all necessities that seemed out of reach because her father, like many other caregivers in her community, earned a meager income doing menial jobs
Future Looked Bleak
Yulia lives with her two younger siblings and her parents in Yeka Sub City in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. Her family lives in a small, rented house near the market area in Yeka.
Weldemikael, Yulia’s father, works as a laborer in Yeka, and his income is inconsistent. He makes between the equivalent of $2.50 and $7.50 a day. His family depends on his income for food, rent, water, electricity, and other basic items. Once, his family was forced to relocate to a cheaper house in the neighborhood when he couldn’t pay the rent.
They have proper sanitation in their neighborhood. However, families are forced to share toilets, a water source, and a power source.
According to the United Nations, most Ethiopians who live in poverty live in poorly built houses that lack basic facilities such as toilets.
With all the difficulties her family faced, Yulia’s future looked bleak.
Getting a Vital Education
Then in 2007, when Yulia was 4, she was registered into the OneChild program. Her father brought her there with the hope that she would be able to get some relief and what she needed to attend school.
In Ethiopia, despite having free education, most kids drop out of school to either help care for their younger siblings or work to help pay for their families’ basic needs.
But with Yulia attending Kebena Hope Center, she was assured of meals, clean drinking water, routine health checkups, and the hope that she could complete her education.
She’s been able to successfully complete primary school with the help from her Hope Center and is now in high school. Yulia hopes to excel in her final exams and attend university, where she would like to study medicine.
“I want to become a doctor when I grow up,” says Yulia, now 18. “I am inspired by the state of my community and would love to give back to the community and also give hope to kids in my community by being able to treat them when I become a doctor. I am happy that being at the Hope Center assures me of completing my education because I am able to receive all the basic items needed to sustain me in school.”
Sponsor Gift a ‘Miracle’
Yulia’s sponsor recently donated money as a gift to the family. At the time she received the gift, her family had been worried about paying the rent. Also, Yulia had resumed school and needed some basic items including clothes and shoes.
Her family was torn between paying rent and purchasing the items she needed for school. But with help from Yulia’s Hope Center staff, the family was able to buy clothes and shoes for Yulia and even food for the family. They were also able to pay the rent.
“Gifts are beautiful; they are some of the few miracles left on earth,” Yulia says. “I am so happy and would like to thank my sponsor because the gift was timely and not only did it help me, but it helped my whole family. Through that one gift, four more other people’s lives were touched.”
Weldemikael says that after they received the sponsor’s gift, “For a whole month, I worried about nothing. I settled my rent with the money I had now that we had received a gift that catered for the other pressing needs. The food we bought also lasted a whole month, and that was quite humbling. God has mysterious ways of touching our lives when we least expect. Through the sponsors, God cares for us.”
In addition to the clothes and food, they were also able to buy a TV, which came in handy in 2020 when schools were closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yulia was able to access information for her education while at home, via the TV, and her family was able to stay in touch with the church services held on TV.
“I am glad that I have this golden opportunity to be comfortable and focus on my education because my sponsor selflessly donates to ensure that I reach my God-given potential,” says Yulia.
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