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Seeds of hope take root, prosper in Ethiopia

For Zewdu Jima and his family, life was difficult. They didn’t have enough to eat. Their clothes were worn, and they could not afford to replace them. In his own words, they were “hopeless.”

Desperate for help, he was referred to the Buckner Family Hope Center in Bishoftu, Ethiopia where he began in-depth case management. The ministry met his family’s immediate needs and set out a plan to improve their lives.

Buckner Ethiopia has three Family Hope Centers in Ethiopia, each offering a variety of services to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families. Many, like Zewdu’s, are living off little and have even less hope for better lives.

Buckner gave Zewdu 2,000 birr – roughly $100 – to buy the first seedlings of the family’s nursery. Family members worked together on seedlings, nurturing their growth, selling mature plants and cultivating additional seedlings as they developed.

With the growth of each seedling, the family gained confidence. As each plant sold, they gained financial stability. Now, the family has a thriving business. “People like trees,” Zewdu said in the middle of more than 400 plants. “They like the shade. They want to beautify their homes. They buy items from me, and that’s how I make a living.”

Zewdu’s family is happier now. His wife helps him sell plants near a busy street. Other families have joined in, cultivating and selling the plants.

“When I compare my life then and now, it’s changed,” he said. “Now I’m eating good food. I live a good life.”

John Hall is the associate director of public relations for Buckner International. You can contact him at jhall[at]buckner[dot]org.

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