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Creating a change that lasts

Empowering Mentesenot's family after devastating loss

Daneal Lightner, content writer

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They were happy.

Mentesenot and Abenezer were teenage brothers, growing up with their parents in the bustling Ethiopian city of Addis Ababa. Their father was a hard worker and earned a good living. Their mother was a loving caretaker, who looked after her busy family.

The boys enjoyed a comfortable childhood. They had food on the table and clothes on their backs, attended school, and found time to play.

That all ended the day they tragically lost their father.

Mentesenot’s mother was devastated. But even in her grief, she needed to quickly find a way to replace her husband’s income.

To keep her home, pay the boys’ school tuition, and keep up with other living costs, she got a job as a janitor at a local college. She worked hard to care for her family, pushing through her grief.

But tragedy came again. She was in an accident that drastically affected her ability to walk. After several treatments, her legs could not be healed. She was left out of work and bedridden.

Just boys and still reeling from the loss of their father, Mentesenot and his brother were thrown into adulthood. They were now responsible for earning an income to support their family.

Without access to other support or public assistance, the boys were alone. Abenezer quit school, both brothers found work, and they did all they could to care for their mother.

Their grief and losses, and the mounting expenses of food, housing, and medical bills were burying them. They were hungry, lacked necessary medical care, and were at risk of losing their home.


Bethany was called, and through family preservation and empowerment services, immediate assistance guaranteed the family food, housing, medical care, and mental health aid.

The first step of the program is to move families out of immediate crisis. We ensure they are safe, have their basic needs met, and have access to critical resources like sound nutrition, mental and medical health care, and education.

For Mentesenot’s family, mental health services helped them grieve and process the loss of their father, their mother’s immobility, and the end of the life they had known. It took time, but eventually the family came to terms with what their new life would and could be.


Once the family stabilized, the next step was to give them tools to thrive. Through vocational training and business start-up assistance, the family could generate their own income, giving them the opportunity to achieve financial stability.

Mentesenot worked hard to finish school. At 22 years old, he graduated with a degree in accounting. Next, he started his own poultry farm. With his income, he can now care for himself and his mother, who remains bedridden eight years after her accident. Mentesenot has big goals and dreams to expand his business one day. His brother, Abenezer, is now married with a healthy family of his own.

Creating a change that lasts

Through the work of preserving and strengthening families, Mentesenot’s family, once on the brink of devastating poverty and deep, grief-driven depression, is together and thriving.

Like all families who graduate the program, Mentesenot’s family now has At least one adequate and sustainable source of income New parenting and life skills Training and an understanding of how to cope with future hardships A support system and access to community resources

In 2022, 108 families were enrolled in the family preservation and empowerment program in Ethiopia and Ghana 23 families successfully graduated from the program

So far in 2023, 30 new families have been enrolled in Ethiopia and one in Ghana 44 families have graduated in Ethiopia and we expect to graduate three more in Ghana

The family preservation and empowerment program boasts a 100% success rate in keeping families together and improving their circumstances. While we celebrate this success, we admit it’s not enough.

Together, we can do more.

There are currently 275 approved families with more than 700 children on the waiting list for services. And more than 3,000 additional families who’ve asked for help.

Together, we can respond to the growing need. We can create a change that lasts. We can help move these families from simply surviving, to thriving.

There is much work to do. But each family helped is an investment that will continue to have dividends well into the future.

Together, we can ensure families not only have their basic needs met, but we can provide the tools, skills, vocational training, and resources they need to become self-sufficient now and for generations.

Together, we can create change that lasts.

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