Shitawa is a 19 years old single mom. She was born in “Gojam” the northern rural area of Ethiopia. Her mother was also a single mom who moved her children to Addis in hopes of a better life. Unfortunately they found countless challenges and Shitawa and her sibling suffered.
With tears and bad memories Shitawa said, “my life was full of sadness and discouragement. I felt like I was created to be a symbol of defeat. After all the childhood ups and downs; when I was 16, I was raped while I was going to school carrying all the hope and academic success in my heart. That day should be cursed. That day was the day I lost all the hope and confidence.” She got pregnant after that first incident and gave birth to a baby boy named Eyob.
Shitawa’s teenage pregnancy forced her to drop out of school and become a single mom with no way of supporting herself or her son. She first heard about I Pour Life from a former graduate of the I Pour Life Women’s Empowerment program. She applied to join and begin the process of building a safe and stable future for her small family.
Shitawa joined the Women’s Economic Empowerment program and her son, Eyob, was placed in I Pour Life’s Early Childhood Development program (“ECD”). He was one of the most malnourished children in the program, and because of his condition, he was also very sick and sensitive to getting Pneumonia. I Pour Life ensured daily nutrition support, medical treatments, and bathing to keep Eyob well.
After joining I Pour Life’s programs, Shitawa experienced economic and mental transformation. She started to evaluate opportunities around her and the value that she inherently has as a person. She stepped away from the marketplace shop that was struggling, and moved into a business that she was passionate about.
Shitawa started working at a hair salon making 2000 birr monthly salary. With weekly coaching from I Pour Life program staff, she was able to more courageously build her hair styling and braiding client list. She is exceptional at her skill and trade, and now she has a better understanding of how to maximize her potential. Eyob has become very healthy and is now in the normal growth range because of I Pour Life’s nutritious food support and critical medical follow up.
In the future, Shitawa is hoping to own a mega beauty salon in Addis Ababa. She hopes to impact as many young women as she can through her future business by creating job opportunities in her salon. And above all she wants to see her child be healthy and successful in every aspect of his life.