By Wossene Hailu; Edited by Leanna Cappiello
Bereket’s family was dependent on agriculture for food and income. But due to the lack of adequate agricultural land, the family wasn’t able to produce crops for food. Life was difficult and there were many struggles.
In a desperate attempt to get back on their feet, the family sent Bereket to work in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, to do traditional weaving work. This unfortunately forced young Bereket to drop out of grade 8. His family hoped that their risk of sending their son away to work would improve the family finances. What they didn’t realize was that their son was being exploited by his employer: Bereket worked for five years and was never paid for his labour.
With the help of World Vision, a youth group was established to educate and support young labourers by providing them with life skills and literacy lessons.
Bereket was not only a beneficiary and participant, but selected as a leader in the group. As a youth coach, Bereket taught his weaving skills to others and spoke out against child labor and exploitation.
The group grew, and eventually established a weaving house from the local administration, initiated by the youth. They bought raw materials to make traditional weaving tools of their own, and because they had learned life skills from the youth group, they successfully created a budget too.
“Our lives have been improving," says a proud Bereket, "We currently produce various types of marketable traditional cloths.” He and his peers are now able to earn enough money each week to both spend and save.
“I support my family,” Bereket says with a smile. And there’s more: “I have started my education after quitting for five years, and waiting for the result of eighth grade regional examination. Now I am ready for the next level of life,” Bereket explains, radiating with hope and energy.
Bereket is thrilled to have had the chance to contribute to his family, become a leader and speak out against child labour.
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