Kidsti Hannas’ shared vision of empowering women and mothers gives hope to many
The branch of the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW) in Central Region has been giving courses in collaboration with Kdsti Hanna Association to women in Berik sub zone who live in the villages of Adi-Gebru, Adi-Teklay and Tseazega. On August 28th and 29th of 2018, 130 women graduated after attending a one year course on beauty (hair style) and hand embroideries.
Several governmental and nongovernmental entities have been working in collaboration with the NUEW for the betterment of women’s lives socially, economically as well as morally. The women get material support and guidance and counseling on what to do after completing the courses.
Kdsti Hanna Association started its project in 2014 to help women with difficulties and challenges mainly from Adi- Gebru, Adi-Teklay and Tseazega. The catholic association has been working in improving those women’s capacity. The association plays a great role in supporting the activities planned out by the NUEW. It also helps stay-at-home women by giving them courses to improve their family’s livelihood. All in all, Kidsti Hanna association is one of the partners closest to the NUEW.
Sister Mhret Hagos, the coordinator of Kidsti Hanna Association in Adi-Gebray, Adi-Teklay and Tseazega villages, said that the association maintains good relations with NUEW and other governmental bodies. The association focuses on disseminating vocational courses to enable women have a profession that they can keep up even while working at home. The courses which mostly last for one year include beauty arts and hand embroideries. So far two hundred and eighty two young women and mothers of Adi-Gebray, Adi-Teklay and Tseazega have received training.
Sister Mhret said that the program began in Adi-Teklay in 2014 by training 31 women in hair styling, designing and dress making as well as hand embroideries. In 2015 only 18 women graduated from Adi- Teklay on hair styling. However, later, the program extended to include the villages of Adi-Gebray and Tseazega resulting in 2017, in an enrollment of 103 women in the courses of hair styling, dress making and hand embroideries. In 2018, 130 women graduated from the three villages on beauty arts, dress making and hand embroideries.
The association started the training program with a vision of helping widowed women who lost their husbands in the war. Later, thanks to the involvement of governmental and non-governmental associations, the program was able to include many women who have interest in taking the courses.
Kdsti Hanna Association is making an effort towards building women’s future by empowering them through training so that they may have opportunities to work and improve their way of living.
In general, the association’s main objective is to nourish independent and phenomenal women responsible for themselves and their society. For that reason the association is welcoming any women interested in enhancing their skills and knowledge.
Material support is given to women who complete their vocational studies to boost their confidence to start working right away. For instance, the women who took hand embroideries courses in Tseazega sub zone were given 18 tailoring machines to be used for specific period of time; which they return whenever they are able to buy their own machines so that others can use them. Kdsti Hanna Association does not stop supporting the women even after the courses are over. It works with the women hand in hand until they become productive members of the society.
Sister Mhret said that women who took beauty art course especially have shown great changes in their lifestyle. The women found opportunity to use their knowledge and skills in their village as nowadays beauty salons have become trendy in our society.
Sister Mhret further said that the association has a plan to widen its program to help women find jobs and support them with material aid to help them advance in their performance. Moreover, for women who studied beauty arts, the plan is to give them tools so that they can work together in groups.
At last, Sister Mhret, thanked the partners who supported them to make the program successful in these villages. She specifically thanked the Evangelical Church for providing class rooms, the Pavonni Association and the family of Mr.Adhanom Gebreslase for giving them a house in the village for the teachers to live in during the three year of work making their mission easier to carry out.
Mrs. Ariam Awalom, one of the students who took courses on hand embroideries for two years, said that the opportunity they got is praiseworthy as it gave them a chance to improve their family’s life. She said that she has three children to take care of by herself. Therefore, the opportunity was the only way for her to advance herself and help her family. She added that people, in remote areas don’t support mothers to be educated; they think that once married a women cannot learn or work to improve herself and her family. However, she said, the program has a great role in changing the society’s perception and helps women to change their life and get their own source of income.
Mrs. Azeb Welday, also one of the women who got a chance to learn hair styling and hand embroideries, said that Kdsti Hanna Association played a great role in changing their perception of working hard to improve themselves and their society. Despite challenges they were facing in their family the women were able to take the courses with great support of the association. She said that she had base on beauty salon, her source of income. Mrs. Azeb believes a mother is to the pillar of the society, thereafter, only in her presence is there and educated society. Helping the mother means helping the society. At last, she recommended that knowing that women are important to the society; every woman should go out of the house and broaden her knowledge as a responsible citizen.