Ohio State University Visited Mary Joy
Ohio State University delegates unveiled their interest to partnership: The Ohio State University (OSU) delegates visited Mary Joy Development Association on December 9, 2012. The delegates encompass OSU’s professors, Deans and researchers. The visit was aimed to establish partnership between MJDA and OSU on community health outreach program, volunteer mobilization and in-service training programs. The delegates visited the MJDA medical center’s activities and integrated community development programs as well as discussion has been held among the team members and MJDA’s management on the focus of the partnership and sustainability of MJDA’s health programs. The visitors were accompanied by Professor Tirusew Tefera (Dean, College of Education and Behavioral Studies, Addis Ababa University) and Dr. Mekasha Kassaye (Assistant Professor in English Language Pedagogy and Higher Education Policy and Management) and Ethiopian Medical Student Association’s Executives.
On the 4th of February 2012, MJDA organized a Volunteers Recognition Event to publically recognize the contribution of 200 volunteers who have been actively participating during the last 5 years to achieve the organization’s objectives.
The Pursuit of HappinessShumet Shululo, 23 years oldDilla, Ethiopia
“Yesterday, when I woke up, no one said to me ‘Good morning’. Instead, I took to the streets to beg for money in order to feed my children.”
Today I wake up, drink coffee with the neighbors and go to my job that pays for my children’s schooling. Thanks to Mary Joy, now everybody calls me ‘Shumet’ and hugs me with love and respect.”
Shumet was born in a small village called Shegedo, on the outskirts of Dilla, south of Addis Ababa. There she grew up until her father died and migrated to Dilla where she and her mother lived in a relative’s house.
At just 9-years old and in the second grade, she was abducted and forced to marry an older man. In Ethiopia, abduction marriage is a desperate option for those who have nothing. As a result, she was forced to drop out of school and moved to a nearby village called Wogela with her husband. She had three children by him.
Together, they tried to take control of their lives but were unsuccessful. They decided to move back to Dilla in order to search for jobs and a better life.
Life in Dilla became more and more difficult as time passed. Her husband started gambling and took to a life of crime. Due to this and the complexities of being poor, Shumet and her husband divorced, leaving her with the three children. She had no place to raise her children and with no other alternatives, she turned to begging.
At a low point in Shumet’s life, Mary Joy appeared and registered her children Dinkitu, Zemachu, and Meseret in its orphan and vulnerable child (OVC) support program, which partners with Pact-Ethiopia in collaboration with USAID. Thereafter, Mary Joy incorporated Shumet into its income generation program.
Accordingly, Mary Joy provided her with small scale business development management, entrepreneurship (SBDME) training and a start-up capital of 1466 birr ($95 USD).
From this moment her life changed and she stopped begging. Since then, she has started her own coffee business that serves daily laborers. In the evening, she sells local drinks to villagers out of her home, which she rents. Her business is progressing and turning profits. Today, she makes 7 birr from one bottle of local drink and 0.50 birr from every cup of coffee sold. Shumet can earn a monthly income of 585 birr.
In addition, Mary Joy lobbies the local school for scholarship opportunities for Shumet’s children. As a result, they now have the opportunity to attend school, receive school materials, and get an education, something their mother was not allowed.
Thanks to her small business income, today Shumet proudly sends her children to school.
“I have been searching for my happiness, I think today is the beginning,” she says.
While yesterday is history, and tomorrow a mystery, Shumet is thankful for the present because her current life is better than ever before.