One minute she could see. The next minute she could not. For this young Ethiopian woman,
it was a devastating time.
“Fourteen years ago, I was preparing hot peppers in the kitchen,” says Engocha. “My eyes started to hurt. And then I went blind.” Engocha did not have an eye doctor and so the reason for her blindness remains unclear. She has been blind since she was 7 years old.
Thankfully, Hope and Healing International was there to help.
Engocha lives with her sister and six-year-old nephew in a small Ethiopian village. Before she went blind, she worked as a day labourer for a local construction company. Life was good. She earned about 1 birr and 50 cents a day, about 15 cents in today’s currency. Her wages were low, but they made a significant difference to her household’s income. After she went blind, she was no longer able to work. “I cried,” says Engocha.
Since their parents died, Engocha’s sister Alem is the sole breadwinner for the family. Alem sells roasted peas and grains in different locations.
Engocha’s dream has always been to attend school. “I only wanted an education — nothing else.” She saw it as a new beginning through which she could ultimately help her family.
Enter Hope and Healing and its Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) program. For the past six months, Zinabu, a worker with Hope and Healing International has been visiting and working with Engocha to improve her life. Engocha has learned to use a white cane to move around her home and community safely, and she’s learned to read and write braille. She’s now able to attend school again. The CBR program even gave Engocha a school kit, including a braille stylus and slate.
“I used to cry but now my life is better.”
Engocha is happy and grateful.
Her community that at one time pitied her has now rallied around and provided much-needed encouragement. “I used to cry but now my life is better. Some people still feel sorry for me, but I am okay now. I have made progress; I have seen change in my life” — all thanks to Hope and Healing International. The CBR program has paved the way for her to get out of her house and into the world. Engocha says, “For the people who helped me, I want to say thank you so much… I will always pray for their health and long years ahead. Forever.”
Engocha wants Hope and Healing International to help others like her who live with disabilities so they too can have a better life.
Engocha’s story is yet another example of how your gifts to Hope and Healing International transform lives. Thank you for your ongoing support.