Tekabech Teklu is a member of the village saving association for youth (VSAY) group, Worek Amarfe, which translates into "The Golden Seat." At sixteen in Addis Ababa, she is keen on studying political science and hopes to become the first female president of Ethiopia. She is well spoken, confident and full of positivity regarding her future and that of her country. But Tekabech was not always like this.Prior to being part of the E-FACE (Ethiopians Fighting Against Child Exploitation) project, Tekabech was a different person. She talks about arguing with everyone in her neighborhood and at home. She was quick to pick a fight with others and didn't see the value in helping with housework or with the weaving work done by her parents.
After participating in Keep Safe training and being part of a VSAY, she has changed her attitude and feels a sense of responsibility towards her family and her education. She goes to school more regularly now and feels more confident about working hard and saving for a better future. "Before becoming a VSAY member, I was very argumentative and fought with everyone. Now I have a sense of responsibility and know how to work with others in a team."
Members of Worek Amarfe want to use their savings to start a group business – the first internet café in their community. The group has already shared out individual amounts upon successful completion of one year of savings, and Tekabech used her savings to buy school supplies. In this second cycle of savings, her group has opened a shared bank account.
Tekabech admits she wouldn't have been so disciplined about saving if it weren't for her group and the social capital amongst them to save weekly. She likes the sense of belonging, trust and friendly competition within the members of her group.
While Tekabech speaks, her fellow group members all smile and encourage her, agreeing with her sentiments. From a distance, their mothers are overcome with pride at the changes they see in their children after joining the savings group – confidence to believe in themselves and their futures.