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Volume 9, No. 1SPRING 2006

Snapshots from Jerusalem and Ethiopia

Education helps family, village in West Bank
By Nora Kort, IOCC-Jerusalem

Children in the village of Madama wait in line at the health clinic next door to the Health training center. Photo: IOCC-Jerusalem

Madama, West Bank (IOCC) — Maha lives in the West Bank village of Madama near Nablus. She is a young mother of four whose husband, like most men in her village, can’t find work. With living expenses and mouths to feed, her husband encouraged her to pursue her dream of having a job. Five years ago, she joined the Madama Health Education Training program funded by IOCC, where she learned to teach sound health practices to a community in need of public health awareness and a safe, clean environment. For three years she worked on a voluntary basis and found it extremely rewarding, but kept her hope alive to find a paying job that would enable her to study at the university.

During those three years, Maha gained the respect and appreciation of her village for whom she volunteered so much time. Then, at the end of 2004, her village received a grant to start a computer center and a library. The village elected Maha to be the computer trainer for the center. After she started this job, she continued her voluntary health education training and started attending the university in Nablus. Her income from her job at the computer center pays for some of the family expenses and her university fees. She says she is grateful for her education and her role in the community, which has assisted her and her family.

The Madama village community center was constructed with and continues to receive funding from IOCC and its partners.

Overcoming stigma in Ethiopia

Tadeleu’s business, which keeps her busy at her sewing machine every day from sunrise to sunset, has given her a new sense of confidence and hope. Photo: Stefanos Roulakis, IOCC-Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (IOCC) — Tadeleu contracted HIV from her husband, who has since died. Her two children, who are HIV negative, live with Tadeleu’s mother. She tearfully tells of the stigma that she faces, both personally and socially. “When I found out I had the disease, all I could think about was how much I hated myself, and I kept denying that I had the disease” she says. “I do not want to [get to know] people, because I fear they will find out my status.”

When Tadeleu discovered she had HIV, she started attending support meetings at the Hope Center, established by IOCC and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. There, she found a sense of community and a program that would change her life. The Hope Center provided her with skills training and the start-up capital to begin a small business.

Now she is too busy to feel hopeless. She works every day from sunrise to sunset at her self-powered sewing machine. Orders come in regularly giving Tadeleu confidence in her work and a sense of security. Amidst her tears, a smile breaks out, and she says, “I am happy that the Church has provided support. This program has given me life.”

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