From a Hard Place to a Promising Future

By Laura Alsum   |  Photos by Donna Atola, Kenya Field Communications Specialist

Nurturing Child Champions and a sponsor change the course of an Ethiopian girl’s life — for the better

Hiwot is grateful for the opportunities she had by being enrolled in OneChild’s program.

Hiwot’s parents knew they could not provide everything they wanted for their children, so when Hiwot was 8, her mother took her to a nearby Hope Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to enroll.

The decision proved to be pivotal in the trajectory of Hiwot’s life.

At the center, she found a second family — of Child Champions — who listened to her, valued her, and nurtured her talents and faith.

She also found a sponsor, Anne Fischer, who shared her life with Hiwot through letters.

Anne was an accountant — a job that fascinated Hiwot from the beginning. She grew to love everything related to numbers and learned as much about math and accounting as she could.

Hiwot’s Child Champions saw her potential and knew she would thrive in a private school, which provides many more educational opportunities than public schools in Ethiopia.

Hiwot, right, when she was younger, poses with her mother.

With the Hope Center’s support and financial aid, Hiwot attended a private high school that helped her be well prepared for her college-entrance exam. After passing the test with ease, Hiwot attended college and earned her degree in accounting.

A Dream Realized

With her talent and determination, Hiwot found an accounting job at PepsiCo in Addis Ababa. She was thrilled to use her knowledge, degree, and interests to support herself.

At the same time, she knew she needed to continue pursuing her relationship with the Lord, so in 2015, Hiwot enrolled in Bible classes at a nearby college.

Hiwot often worked on group projects and met with classmates to study and discuss their lessons. One of these classmates was a quiet young man.

Hiwot as a teenager.

Hiwot didn’t think much about him because she was usually drawn to more outgoing personalities, but one day, she joined him for coffee to go over a class project, and they ended up talking for over three hours — about family, their communities, their priorities, and their faith.

She left the coffee shop unsure of where this hours-long conversation with the quiet young man would lead.

But he knew.

A few days later, she agreed to go on a date with him. He told her that he had been praying for a wife and that the moment he first met her, he knew she was the one.

He also knew this might scare off Hiwot, so he told her she should take as much time as she needed to get to know him.

It turns out she didn’t need much time at all. Three months later, they were married.

Hiwot and her husband now have a young daughter and another child on the way. She still works in accounting at PepsiCo and feels so blessed to have a God-fearing husband who supports what she does and is proud of her success.

A Message of Gratitude

If she wasn’t given the opportunities she had, Hiwot doesn’t know what her life would look like.

Many women in the area leave to work abroad because of few employment options, especially for those who are uneducated, and sometimes, they completely lose touch with their families.

Hiwot becomes emotional when she thinks about what she would like to tell her sponsor, Anne. She knows that because of the Hope Center, she didn’t have to face insurmountable challenges. Life was easier for her than for those who didn’t receive the same opportunities.

So, she would like to tell Anne “Thank you,” and let her know how happy she is — and that she was able to fulfill her dream of becoming an accountant just like her.

Hiwot hopes that her story will inspire others to see that “sponsoring is not just a donation.” It can completely change the direction of someone’s life.

Change the life of a child in poverty. Sponsor a child today!


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