Meweded’s story

*name changed to protect identity

Meweded  is 26 years of age, and comes from a rural part of southern Ethiopia.  She is the youngest of five children. Her parents were low-income farmers, and they struggled to feed the family of seven. When Meweded was 15 years, she left home, and all the associated poverty, lack of food and struggle with school fees, and she came to Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia.

Her sister was living in the city, so Meweded lived there for a year. However, they didn’t get on and so she ran away from home. Alone in the city, she got a job to help in a small shop. One day a customer came to the shop and asked Meweded to go with him to some recreation place. She agreed and they went together but he raped her.  She was psychologically broken and got an STD as a result.  

With the support of her friends Meweded started to feel better, and after a while she started a relationship with a man. They were together for a month then decided to get married.  The man was also from Southern Ethiopia and they went to his family where they lived for one year. In that time Meweded gave birth to a baby girl named “ Nardos”.

After one year, Meweded knew that she needed to find money for them to live off. Her only option was to go back to Addis Ababa, leaving baby Nardos behind with her in-laws. Meweded worked as a House maid for 3 years and gathered some money. She then went back to collect Nardos, and took Nardos, and the money to her own family so that her own mother could look after the child.

Meweded came back to Addis Ababa  and continued working as  house maid .One day a  good looking man approached her and gave her a ride. This is how she meets her second husband. After dating for a year and a half they decided to get married. Life seemed good for Meweded and she become a mother for the second time when she gave birth to Zowiva. Her husband insisted Meweded be a stay at home mum to raise Zowiya but from then life got harder. The husband started drinking and stopped supporting the family, disagreements arose between them, and Meweded struggled to send money to her mother for Nardos. Desperate to find a way to earn money, she turned to prostitution.

Meweded stayed in prostitution for 2 years. During these years she lost her identity and become addicted to an Ethiopian drug called Chat and to alcohol. She spiralled down into a really bad place and hated herself for being a bad mother for her two beautiful daughters. Moreover Meweded had Asthma and kidney infection that required some of her money.

 One fortunate night Meweded met the social workers from EWAR and took their leaflet. The next morning she called to the EWAR center to find out more and then started attending the drop in sessions. Eventually she joined the rehabilitation program. During her stay in EWAR Meweded learned about the negative impacts of prostitution; breaking from addictions, forgiving peoples, techniques of raising a child, communication skills, how to be Goal oriented, work ethics, importance of saving and most of all her spiritual life was restored; she was delivered from the evil spirit and now she is a Christian taking discipleship class in a church.   

EWAR provided job training for her and she took training in housekeeping. Other than her class Meweded works different jobs to support her living. Meweded says “:indeed my hope is now renewed “

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