Heavenly Treasures networks with the following organizations in Ethiopia
THE EDEN PROJECTS
Heavenly Treasures supports The Eden Projects through the sale of Coffee.
Here is a great article from their International Director of Ethiopia that explains what they do and how our partnership, among other supporters, has impacted them.
-Thomas Launer, International Director of Ethiopia
What does Eden do?
The most basic answer, of course, is that we plant trees.
But is it really that simple?
I recently interviewed a number of our village employees to find out their answers to that very question: What does Eden do? Without a doubt our “Pay to Plant” model has boosted the local economy and led to increased forest cover, but read the full list of employee responses below to get a better picture. It turns out planting trees is just the start... Over two full days of interviews with our employees in one of our local nurseries and the associated planting sites, I gained a better understanding of how Eden’s work has impacted their lives since we arrived.
[Our] donations to Eden has contributed to the following in this community:
- Reduced erosion
- Increased land fertility
- Return of wildlife to the area
- Increased personal income to buy things like clothes, soap, iodized salt, etc.
- Reduced flooding in the rainy season •Improved weather conditions
- Increased food security
- More kids attending school (and with better supplies)
- Better home construction
- Greater access to medicine
- Improved awareness of the environment
- More families starting bank savings
- Improved quality and quantity of fodder for livestock
- Better access to shade on hot and sunny days
- More farmer investment into their fields
- Increased livestock herds
- Better access to forest products
- Reduced fighting in the community over access to forest products
So, what again does Eden do?
Plant Trees. Save Lives.
Meet Berkie. She has overcome amazing odds. Diagnosed with Leprosy at age 10, her inability to use her hands had left her ostracized from her family. She had little or no help from them. She ended up at a hospital program called "Alert", where they helped stop the spread of the eroding disease, and she finally found hope. She started a small business with thirteen other women from the Alert program and today has had over 60 disabled people become employed through her small business. She not only helps the people financially but gives them skills to live a self-sufficient, independent lifestyle.
WOMEN FOR WOMEN
The Trampled Rose is one of the temporary shelters provided by Women for Women Foundation for poor women awaiting admittance to the Fistula Hospital, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. It provides shelter, food, education, training and care to Ethiopia's poorest women. Women for Women Foundation is the registered public charity that supports the Trampled Rose.
Women for Women Foundation is under section 501(c) 3 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Over 90% of your donation will go to providing programs for the needs of those women suffering from fistula in Ethiopia.
Heavenly Treasures partners with Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in their Ethiopia Initiative. The proceeds from the sale of all the products are reinvested into additional inventory giving the women an ongoing source of income. MPPC hosts an alternative gift fair each year that helps to give thousands of people hope through the sale of their products. Christmas with a Mission gives people a way to express their support for the poor and oppressed by choosing to change people lives through the purchase of a single product.
Story from trampled rose website. www.trampledrose.org
These are the grateful words of Maeza herself “This is the best time in my life!" I started to be human again.
I know how to write and calculate money. I am happy. I never imagined getting such a chance in my life.” Her husband said “I am so happy and thankful! The trampled Rose helped us financially because my wife knows how to get additional income to change our life. Thank you!”
But Maesa’s life has not always been so happy. When Maeza Miskir arrived at the Trampled Rose her life had already been a hard one. She was born twenty eight years before in the Amhara region in the northern part of Ethiopia to a sustenance farming family. She has four other sisters and two brothers. When she was young there was no school in her area and her parents didn’t consider education important for a girl. They wanted her to get married and be safe instead.
Although Maeza was only seven years old and had no desire to get married she was given to her husband to begin the duties of a wife. This was a terrifying experience for her so as soon as she had the chance she ran away from the man she hardly knew. Because of her illiteracy life was difficult and she married again.
In her second marriage she became pregnant with her first child. In the area where she lived there were very scarce medical services available so most of the women give birth in their own homes or the home of their in laws with a traditional birth attendant. These birth attendants have limited knowledge about difficult child birth deliveries. Maeza was in labor for five full days. At the end of her labor the baby was still born.
The pressure on her birth canal had caused a lack of blood flow to her bladder and she developed a vescovaginal fistula. She began to leak urine uncontrollably.. Her husband was offended by her condition and especially her smell. He asked her to leave so he could marry another woman who could have children and he wanted to be free of Maeza.
Maeza’s second husband returned her to her family home. She lived with them for two years when she heard about surgery at a Fistula Hospital near her region. But her depression and bad luck increased when she underwent her surgery only to discover that she seemed to be incurable. The leaking continued. She lived for one more year in hopelessness until she met a new educated man. He loved her and told her that he was willing to marry her because you never know what can happen in the future.
By this time Maeza had been leaking urine down her legs for more than seven years.
One day she was approached by the Amhara development association who was contacting women in their area with fistula on behalf of the Trampled Rose, Inc. Maeza and her husband jumped at the chance for Maeza to learn to read and write and begin a business of her own. Because the problem of fistula is so prevalent in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, Maeza’s sister in law also suffered from fistula. They decided to travel together with the transportation service provided by the Trampled Rose to the city of Addis Ababa.
Maeza was frightened, hungry, tried and dirty when she arrived at the gates of the Trampled Rose. During her orientation she was taught about the causes and cures for fistula. She was especially relieved to learn that fistula is not a curse from God but only a medical condition caused by her prolonged labor. As part of her orientation she was taken to a hospital to be checked for other diseases that could make her studies difficult. She was also examined by an expert fistula surgeon to make sure that her fistula was indeed curable. Her pleasure was immeasurable when she discovered that she did indeed have a chance to be cured by surgery.
Maeza began her literacy class during her first week. She was taught the alphabet by using small stones and sticks to make letters. She could read 180 words in her first week. This quick process gave her courage to try more. In fact, Maeza was the outstanding student in her graduation from the Trampled Rose. She also enjoyed the social atmosphere of being with twenty seven other women with her same problems.
After Maeza could read and write she began her business training of Sambusa making, ironing, traditional bread baking , and jewelry making. She also learned how to manage money and how to make a business plan. She even enjoyed a field trip to a bank to learn how to open her own account. She was surprised because she thought that banks were only for rich people.
Maeza’s surgery was indeed successful and she returned to her happy husband to open her own small shop selling tea, and taking in ironing with the startup capital she received from the Trampled Rose.
Every Product Represents a Changed Life!
JOY VILLAGE FISTULA CENTER
On the outskirts of Addis Ababa is a farm and training facility built on land beside a mountain, given to Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia by the Ethiopian government. Desta Mender, which translates to Joy Village, is where long-term patients can live, learn skills and gain some independence. If a patient cannot be cured and has to have a stoma, she needs access to clean equipment and ongoing medical care. Desta Mender has market gardens, an orchard, dairy and chicken farm as well as the Juniper Café where residents learn hospitality skills. Desta Mender is also the location of the Hamlin College of Midwives’ campus.
Many of the villages in Ethiopia have such a poor health care system that women don’t have access to medical attention during child birth. On top of that, extreme poverty renders people malnourished since child birth, which prevents full development. The effect malnourishment has on women can result in smaller bodies, smaller hips, and bones that do not grow to their full capacity. These factors lead to dangerous child birth, where the mother is at risk of severely damaging her body. The mother can be in labor for up to four to five days trying to give birth to her child. These high risk deliveries can cause them to get a health condition known as fistula, which changes their lives dramatically.
Most of these women are around the age of eighteen when they receive the surgery to fix their fistula problem. This always occurs with their first child because the women were never fit to have a normal birth, but with poor health care this is not detected. After the damage has been done, the women become disabled, incapable of performing their daily activities in the village. If the women are fortunate, their family members will catch word of a hospital in Addis that performs surgery to correct it. Somehow this news of the hospital finds its way out to remote villages. Most of these villages are 40 miles from any dirt road. Money is then scrambled together or cows are sold in order to pay the transportation fee for the male figure of the family and the woman to travel to Addis. On some occasions the woman travels alone. Reactions to the woman’s condition can vary between acceptance and love to complete disownment and community isolation. The family’s reaction will depend on how she is treated there after.
Once the woman receives surgery, which is difficult because of a long wait list, she then goes through rehabilitation at Desta Mender, a live-in compound. There are roughly 52 women currently living at the compound, regaining skills, strengths, and self-worth to potentially go back into society. The community is not self-sustaining, but does have functioning ways of life that includes a dairy, a garden, and school for the women. This community serves the women holistically in order for them to becoming fully functioning again and be able to work for the first time in years.