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015 Tsehay AlemayehuMy name is Tsehay Alemayehu and I have six children. Since the age of three, I have been taking medication for my illness. Despite my physical problems, I am determined to leave my children with something that can change their lives. I joined E-FACE under the VSLA (village savings and loan association) financial service intervention and it has changed my life for the better. It has been one year since I became a member and I cannot imagine life without this service.

Before joining my VSLA, I was unable to afford 200 ETB (USD 10.00) to hospitalize my son, who suddenly became ill. From that moment, I knew I needed change in my life so that my income could properly support my family. When I joined the project, I took out a 200 ETB (USD 10.00) loan and bought a small cart. I began renting the cart to others, which provided me with enough profit to repay the loan and begin saving. After experiencing the success with that venture, I took out a 900 ETB (USD 45.00) loan to begin a fruit and vegetable retail trade. I have since been able to increase my profits and my income has improved.

In the past, I had joined similar saving groups with other organizations. However, these programs did not offer training sessions that empowered me to save and understand what to do with the money. My membership with E-FACE gave me access not only to financial literacy programs, but also to income generating activities. Another aspect that makes this project so unique is the extensive follow-up by the project staff. I look forward to continuing my skill development and financial training with the project staff. This program will help me leave a legacy of hard work and success for my children.

FUTURE: Through the training and financial service interventions provided by the MEDA E-FACE project, Tsehay will be able to support her family’s long term goals and leave them with something they can use to improve their own lives.