“We cannot just educate our children if the only outcome is to make them discontented with limited job opportunities.”
When we came to Yetebon, the community had no other skills, besides farming and carrying sticks. Today, women are instructed on how to weave a basket, make a glass bead and sew designs on cloth. Their work is nothing short of mini-masterpieces!
Through different Project Mercy building projects, men are taught how to make concrete blocks and mold steel. The skills learned allow workers to better provide for their families and take one step closer to stopping out situational poverty.
From Back Breaking Work to Artist
Every morning for the past seventy plus years, Sebretea gets up and gathers firewood. She then puts the heavy loads on her back and treks down the mountain, at least a four-mile walk. Her goal is to sell the wood to neighbors and others in Yetebon in hope of getting enough money to support herself and her family. This is the only way for her family to get income!
The story above was the reality before Project Mercy started their Skills Training Program. Today, Sebretea makes baskets that are masterpieces. She dyes the reeds with a specific design in mind and weaves the baskets by hand. The whole process takes a month to complete. Other ladies in the program make glass beads and embroider napkins. The gentlemen gain skills in bee hiving, masonry, and woodworking.
Lifelong Learning and Literacy
As an organization, Project Mercy also provides classes to teach literacy and simple math. The program lasts forty-five days and is taught by the students from our high school. Many of the elderly in the village never attended school. Six out of ten women ages fifteen to forty-nine are unable to read and write, and in communities such as Yetebon, fifty-seven percent of women have no formal schooling.
The Yetebon Community graciously agreed to help us build a school and a clinic when we first started the second phase of our ministry. We quickly saw that they were farmers with limited building experience and skills. So we trained them to make concrete blocks. Today, many of the builders have found jobs in neighboring villages due to the training and time spent with Project Mercy.