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Meet Tizeta. She is 18 years old.

Tizeta’s dad died when she was 7 years old and her mom passed away when she was 14. She has two brothers and three sisters, but only three of them grew up together.

“Poverty was so bad my sisters and brothers couldn’t grow [up] together. My mom was unable to feed all of us, so she sent three of them to live with her relatives in different places,” Tizeta says.

Tizeta’s mom sold a local drink called “Tela” and snacks to support her family, but she struggled to have enough money to provide for them. “My school expense was covered by a generous neighbor,” Tizeta says. “She supported all my school expense until I reached grade seven because she understood my mother was unable to cover my school fees.”

“The support stopped after I completed grade seven and my brother helped me for my grade eight education with the money he earned from daily labor,” Tizeta says.

Then her brother got married and had a baby and couldn’t continue paying for her schooling. “After I passed to grade nine, I dropped out of school and started to work in a flower farm,” Tizeta says. She was able to support herself this way for awhile, but work at the farm slowed down and she lost her job.

“I didn’t have money for my basic needs and hopelessness overwhelmed me,” Tizeta says. She was on the verge of entering the commercial sex trade, which is the only option for survival for many young women in her situation.

Her friend, Samrawit knew Tizeta needed help and supported, advised and cared for her. Samrawit was in commercial sex work, and she knew how bad that life was. She shared the money she earned with Tizeta and warned her not to employ herself in commercial sex.

Samrawit heard about the Hope for Children in Ethiopia (HCE) program for those trapped in commercial sex, and she and Tizeta joined together.

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“Now I am in New Life Home of HCE,” Tizeta says. “I have started training in food preparation, and I am receiving support for my basic needs (food, shelter, medication) and other psychosocial support. When I finish my training I plan to work as cook in restaurants and be self-sustained. I am grateful for HCE and Beza Threads’ support. God bless you all.”