I am now able to think about tomorrow. I have encouragement and self-esteem

Sufe, aged 35 from Gindo in Ethiopia, is supported by Siiqqee through a self-help group. Siiqqee enables women in rural communities to escape domestic violence, support themselves and their children independently and plan for their future. 

Sufe from Siiqqee's self help groups in Gindo, outside her home“Before getting involved with Siiqqee, I didn’t have any opportunity to discuss my problems with other people, or do anything really. I didn’t have access to food, I didn’t wash my clothes. I couldn’t leave my house, I was always kept in by my husband and treated like a “thing”. He would batter me and we would argue a lot. 

One day he told me to leave the house with our three children. I had nothing. I was desperate so I found a place to stay and started working as a domestic worker at people’s houses. I would do whatever.

I finally found Siiqqee and joined one of their self-help groups. I felt happy because I was able to share my story with others. Through Siiqqee, I gained skills in business development and they helped me start to save. I started sending my children to school, washing my clothes, getting my dignity back. 

I’ve been in the group for nearly 2 years. I’m not only thinking about today, but I am now able to think about tomorrow. I have encouragement and self-esteem, I am able to speak in public. I have a bank account and I am able to help myself and my children. 

Self-help groups are important because they allow women to share their experiences, start to save, grow together and discuss long and short term plans. There are 16 of us in our group and we have saved more than 13,600 birr.

Before the self-help group, women were in the darkness; their access to money, education and health was very limited. But as a result of Siiqqee most women in our community have access to education, information and income.

In the past, children studied until grade 12 and then didn’t do anything, there were no jobs in the town. But now jobs are available. Expanding the self-help groups will allow us to address more women’s problems and situations and become empowered and independent.”