Just outside of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is a village where abandonment and HIV and AIDS have left an indelible scar on families. Most of the mothers have given up on life and have lost all hope.
With their husbands gone because of death or desertion, the burden of raising children is left to the mothers like Tigist, whose husband infected her with HIV and promptly abandoned her. With no home and no income, she and her children had to sleep wherever they could. Their living conditions were so perilous that one night while they were sleeping, a hyena tried to take away her children. It is mothers like Tigist that Kebede Firego aims to help through the Lemlem Mekane Yesus Church.
Kebede is the Program Director of the Lemlem Mekane Yesus Child Survival Program, which helped Tigist find a safe, stable place to live and provided other services that changed her life.
“I have seen a tremendous difference in the mothers who participate in the program,” says Kebede. “We’re providing HIV-positive mothers with antiretroviral therapy (ART), giving them literacy classes, teaching them the proper way to care for their children, and how to prevent communicable diseases. We also arrange sessions where the mothers discuss their problems and share their experiences. These forums and the other assistance provided are truly transformative. Hope has been found by mothers in the village!”