Photography by: Seifu Asseged
She Means Business: A Young Woman’s Story of Economic Empowerment in Ethiopia
Hello, everyone! My name is Tsion, and I want to share with you the incredible journey I've had through Save the Children's Young Women's Leadership & Economic Empowerment Program (LEEP) in Ethiopia. Born and raised in a picturesque community in the Sidama region, my story shows the transformative power of education and empowerment, especially for young women like me.
My family used to run a tire repair business, but I was initially not interested in joining them. However, everything changed when I enrolled in the LEEP program. Through this initiative, I gained the skills and knowledge required to start a tire repair business of my own.
The LEEP program went beyond technical training; it provided me with valuable entrepreneurship skills. I learned how to create and manage a business successfully, even in an industry considered by many to be modest or insignificant. With this knowledge, I renovated our family's repair shop and embarked on a journey to start my very own motorbike repair business.
Embracing Challenges and Growth
Running a motorbike repair business is physically demanding, but I was determined to succeed. The additional training I received in bookkeeping and customer handling made all the difference, and I began providing high-quality service, becoming the preferred choice for my customers.
Before I took part in the LEEP program, many doubted my ability to repair tires simply because I'm a woman. Some motorbike owners would even take their vehicles to nearby towns, doubting my skills. However, I was very determined, to continuously improve my services, and eventually, my hard work paid off. Today, those very skeptics are some of my most loyal customers.
My dreams don't stop at motorbike repair. With the skills and confidence gained from the LEEP program, I want to open an automobile repair garage someday. I want to expand my business, not only here but also in neighboring towns.
I've come to understand the importance of sharing responsibilities within a family. Traditionally, women were discouraged from working outside the home, but the LEEP program has shown me how essential it is for both partners to contribute to the family's well-being. I think it’s important for husbands and all men to learn from women and support their wives in pursuing their dreams. This shared burden benefits not only the wife but the entire family.
The LEEP initiative has been a game-changer for me. It has empowered me and many other young individuals in Ethiopia. Through comprehensive training in job readiness and essential life skills, teenagers like me have gained the tools needed to start our own businesses and achieve success.
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Over the next three years, the LEEP Academies will invest in 8,900 young female entrepreneurs (ages 18-34), while providing training and mentorship to sustainably grow their businesses. To learn more about LEEP and ways to help more young women like Tsion, please contact Diana Sarro at [email protected].
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