Three generations of impact

Written by
Project Mercy
0 minutes

Mesganaw’s family

In 1996, Project Mercy answered the call of Yetebon elders and opened Medhane-Alem, the kebele's first school. Ato Adane, now 67 years old, fondly recalls the school's opening as his eldest son Mesganaw, was fortunate to be selected as one of the first students. Ato Adane’s wife, W/ro Demekeshign, describes how the school’s uniform policy unified the students making them all feel equal. Mesganaw, now 34 and working towards a master's degree, credits the school for his unimaginable future. His mother, who never had schooling, also learned to read and write at Medhane-Alem through a student-led parent program, and had the opportunity to acquire skills including basket weaving, enset tree scrubbing, and sewing.

Inspired by the positive change that Project Mercy had on his family’s life, Mesganaw and his wife, Zerfeshihun Nuri, chose to return to Medhane-Alem. Mesganaw now serves as a member of the school’s quality assurance team while Zerfeshihun Nuri works as a civics teacher.

Demonstrating three generations of impact, Mesganaw’s children now receive an education through the school and further benefit from Project Mercy’s nutritional meal program, healthcare check ups, clean water, electricity and safe spaces to study. He reflects on the contrast between their lives today, and how, without electricity, he had to burn wood as a source of light to help him study and the lack of access his parents had to any form of education or healthcare.

Mekuria’s family 

Mekuria Kiryala, a 70-year-old Ethiopian farmer, remembers life before Project Mercy transformed his village. Back then, education was scarce, limited to a small informal school, led by an elder. In 1996, Project Mercy founder Marta Gabre-Tsadick visited, and the community warmly welcomed her, offering land for the project.

Excited at the opportunity for his family and community, Mekuria actively participated and was in charge of the raw materials for the construction of Project Mercy’s compound.

We felt so happy and willing to give part of our land for this project for the greater good. Good things started happening after that. The project grew wider and wider. We’re all here today because of their work’’ shares Mekuria.

He witnessed the positive changes firsthand: wheat distribution, electricity and water access, and improved infrastructure. Today, two of his children attend Project Mercy's school, and four are graduates who now work there.

His wife, 62-year-old Sewrete Wewbu worked in Project Mercy’s sewing room and supported where she could with the build of the Medhane-Alem school. Their daughter, Beletech Mekuria, now 33, is a testament to the project's impact.

After graduating from Medhane-Alem, Beletech had the opportunity to pursue studies at Mekelle University. After university, she returned to Project Mercy, driven by her desire to contribute to the community that empowered her. She now works in their accounting and finance department.

Beletech remembers the cultural shift Project Mercy brought. Traditionally, girls weren't sent to school and were instead required to help with house chores. But Project Mercy challenged this, and Beletech's education empowered her and inspired others.

Beletech shares, ‘’I have big love and respect for Project Mercy. I got married 4 years ago and live 9km from Yetebon, but I don’t mind going back and forth daily for them. I am very happy with what I do.’’

Her 9-month-old daughter, Abigia, was born at Project Mercy's Glenn Charles Olsen Memorial Primary Hospital and benefited from the great care of the midwives. Beletech and Abigia continue to receive health visits from the Health Extension Workers that Project Mercy trains in the community. Beletech dreams of Abigia getting an education and contributing to the community, just like her.

Baheru’s family

For Baheru Mohamed, 34, growing up in Yetebon meant witnessing firsthand the limitations faced by his community. His parents were unable to attend formal schooling and women giving birth lacked proper medical care and were manually carried to a hospital on a wooden stretcher. When Project Mercy founder, Marta Gabre-Tsadick, arrived in the community, his parents and the other elders were inspired to offer community land to build the first school in the region.

Project Mercy's mission to address the community's holistic needs began to make a difference. The school offered Baheru and countless others the chance to learn. This education became the foundation for his future. After completing his primary and secondary education at Project Mercy, Baheru went on to earn a master's degree in accounting and finance.

Today, Baheru thrives as a government customer service provider, supporting his wife, Melkamnesh Hussain, and their two young children. His son, Nahom, now enjoys the opportunity to attend Berhan Nursery School, continuing the educational journey started by Project Mercy.

Melkamnesh, also 34, recalls how Project Mercy empowered her. After completing 10th grade, she participated in a year-long sewing and weaving training program funded by the organization. This skill allowed her to contribute to the community by making uniforms for students and gowns for hospital staff. Project Mercy not only opened doors to education but also provided opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Semeye’s family

In Yetebon, a kebele in rural Ethiopia, Semeye Gosa's family story demonstrates the impact of Project Mercy across three generations. Their journey began in a community with limited education, healthcare, and infrastructure. Project Mercy's arrival brought significant change.

Semeye, 32, received his entire education at Project Mercy’s Medhane-Alem school and returned 14 years ago as a teacher. He now leads a teaching unit in the elementary school, guiding future generations. His wife, Leila Temam, also a Medhane-Alem graduate, serves in a governmental Health Center within the Yetebon community. Traditionally in Ethiopia, girls focused on household chores and agriculture and didn’t get the chance to go to school. However, Project Mercy enabled Leila to complete her education and build a career in healthcare. She sees other former students now working as doctors, engineers, and community servants.

Together Semeye and Leila have three children and two currently attend Medhane-Alem, continuing the family's connection to the school that provided them with so much opportunity. 

Semeye's mother, Wekile Mohamed, contributed to Project Mercy's early stages by helping with construction. She has witnessed the community’s transformation, specifically with the build of Project Mercy's Glenn Charles Olsen Memorial Primary Hospital. Whilst there a huge improvements in maternity care in Yetebon, fetal mortality has long been a challenge in Ethiopia. Wekile endured the loss of six of her eight children but feels grateful for the healthcare her surviving children, and grandchildren have today. In 2022, the Glenn Charles Olsen Memorial Primary Hospital successfully delivered 419 babies.

The experience across three generations of Semeye’s family highlights how Project Mercy continues to plant seeds of opportunity, ensuring a brighter future for generations to come.


Related posts

View More