A Leader’s Passion for Women in Her Community

Sarah Smith, Communications SpecialistEmpowering WomenLeave a Comment

Asrat is part of the Petros Network Ethiopian team and oversees our Women & Children programs. When Asrat greets you, she is warm and kind. Within a few minutes of talking with her, you will see she has a passion for women, the issues they face and educating the next generation. She is fueled by her love for Jesus and her love for people. She grew up in the area that our Women’s Program started, so the people in this community are near and dear to her heart. They are her people, and she wants to see the community experience Redemptive Lift by equipping the women with Spiritual, Social and Economic Transformation.

This year has looked different than Asrat thought, but she is still moving the mission set in her heart forward for Petros Network Women. We were able to {virtually} interview Asrat about the highs and lows of this year for her and the women she serves.

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VIRTUAL INTERVIEW WITH ASRAT

This year has looked different for everyone! Typically, a team travels to Ethiopia twice a year to facilitate training with you and your team. Due to Covid, no teams were able to travel this year. What training were you able to have with the women this year in light of all the restrictions?  
"At the end of March, when everything shut down, we gave all the women in our program training on “Preventive Mechanisms for Covid-19”. Our Tesfa clinic put on the training in collaboration with the Women and Children affairs of Jeldu District and the Health Bureau. The focus of this training was personal hygiene, the importance of physically distancing and caring for their children during the pandemic."

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Work for many of our women has become difficult due to the market shutdown. How has our in-country team stepped in and helped them during this time?  
"The women were given food support according to the size of their family. (Each woman received Teff, which is full of protein, fiber, and essential nutrients). Due to the pandemic, things are more difficult than before for most people in Gojo, including some of the women in the program. Our women started small businesses in the market and around their homes. When the market closed because of the pandemic, people were no longer interested in buying food products outside of their homes, which was very frustrating for the women. During this time, Petros Network became a support bridge to fill the gap until the market is stable. Most of the women responded that it is great, and they are very thankful for this."

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SUCCESS DESPITE DIFFICULT TIMES

What successes have you seen this year?  
"All the women were able to return the money loaned to them through their microgrant and have some money saved in their bank accounts before the shutdown. This is a huge blessing and has helped preserve these women through this difficult time."

What changes have you seen in the women, and what are the next steps?  
"Petros Network equipped 43 women to start a small business and support their families. In addition to financial support, these women have received various types of training. The women were destitute and neglected. Their thinking and the image they had for themselves was not good. The trainings provided by Petros Network opened their eyes and made ready their mind and hands for work. We can observe the change in these women so clearly. Their next steps are to group these women together even more strongly and let them tackle poverty as a team."   

ASRAT'S PASSION FOR THESE WOMEN

What are your dreams and hopes for the women and the program?  
"I hope that these women will be different (not like before) to face challenges in their lives. That they would further gain insight on how to tackle their problems by searching for demands in the community and meeting those demands. That they would further develop a good work ethic and be faithful in all they do  

I dream that these women will be able to stand on their own and support their families well. I dream of them becoming more empowered and successful in their business, and they would be seen as someone who makes a useful contribution in their community. Lastly, I dream that what they have learned will not end with them, but they will impact other destitute women, and the community will flourish as a result. With God’s help, I know this can be a reality."  

THE MISSION REMAINS THE SAME

Life may look different, but the Mission of Petros Network is more vital than ever before. Our international team makes it possible for us to continue to spread the Gospel and see Redemptive Lift in the communities we serve. 

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