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Economic Empowerment

The economic empowerment of adults with disabilities has been targeting guardians/parents with disabilities, who used to earn their living mostly from begging along streets and religious sites. In the 4 project years, a total of 130 needy adults with disabilities have been vocationally and psychosocially empowered with the grant of the Embassy of Finland through training in income generating activities and provision of start up capital of Birr 3,000 per head. Together with other PWDs who joined these beneficiaries in small-scale trade and urban agricultural activities like poultry, cattle raising, including sheep breeding and fattening, horticulture on farmlands permitted by the respective Administrations of the four districts, and supported by CBR Network Ethiopia,  this figure has currently grown up to 287 beneficiaries directly engaged in these income generating undertakings.


Out of these, 22 PWDs, who have been caused, supported to form two horticulture cultivation and marketing cooperatives using 6,749 Square meters of an urban farmland granted by the district administrations are provided with water pump, fertilizers, best seeds, and technical support. Other 15 PWDs have been trained and deployed in weaving, tailoring, and woodwork. Still other 120 PWDs have been facilitated and supported to form 3 Credit and Saving Cooperatives. One of these cooperatives has been provided with a loan of Birr 75,000 revolving fund while the rest two are on the waiting list for similar support.


Case stories of two members credit and saving associations, namely, Sawqnew Asfaw and Daniel Woldeyes are worth-telling. Both are persons with physical disabilities having upper and lower limb/hands and legs impairment caused by problems in their nervous system. This unfavorable phenomenon occurred to Sawqnew Asfaw while he was 8th grade student and to Daniel Woldeyes while 10th grade student. Both stopped schooling as a result and turned out to be home-bound and dependent on their families. Yet, from the time they got in contact with HPD-O’s CBR personnel, their lives began changing for the better.


They were accepted to the urban agriculture and business development training program of HPD-O and then provided with Birr 3,000.00 each. In the investment of this money in a play machine called Ð}’> in 2011, Sawqnew Asfaw, who is now aged 25, has now come to be a very good income earner by raising 10 sheep and carrying on with the business in the play machine. Similarly, Daniel Woldeyes is also now aged 25 and has become able to set up and trade in a Kiosk of his own as well as to carry on with the business in the play machine. In the result, both are leading a fairly decent standard of living in their local context where they reside at Qebele 08 in Debrebirhan town.    


Case stories of some beneficiaries with disabilities who are engaged individually are also self-evident in their achievements. For instance, Etagegn Abebe, has deformed hands and legs gravely impaired on account of leprosy while she was young. She is now aged 60, unmarried throughout her life and have not had a child. Yet, she has successfully become an exemplary entrepreneur with a maximization of Birr 11,700.00 working capital.


She began her small-scale investment in a single cattle fattening with Birr 3,000.00 that she was granted by HPD-O as a start-up capital following her successful completion of the urban agriculture and self-employment training that was conducted by HPD-O in 2010, using the kind financial support of the Embassy of Finland.

Having fattened for 3 months the cow that she has bout with Birr 2,700.00, she sold it for Birr 5,000.00 and made an extra income of Birr 2,300.00. Buying, fattening and selling 3 cows one after the other in 3 rounds has now enabled her to ultimately come up with Birr 11,700.00 by the time this case story was written.  


By the time HPD-O’s CBR/para-social workers got in contact with her in 2010, in Debresina town Tarma Ber district, Etagegn Abebe was so poor and jobless that she was dependent on her family, but now thanks to God and the economic interventions made possible using the financial support of the Embassy of Finland, she has become an income earner from a decent work and self-reliant, rehabilitated and empowered.      


Fatuma Siraj is a female with one hand impairment who is in her twenties and has become a beneficiary of the economic empowerment project component in Debrebirhan town from 2010-2011. She had received Urban Agriculture and Business Skills Training, as a result of which she moved on into a track of better life activity and income generation. She invested in the Injera baking and supply business the startup capital of Birr 3,000.00 granted to her using the kind financial support of the Embassy of Finland. Working in this business individually, she has already been able to daily bake and supply 250 Injeras to hotels, enabling her to make an income of at least 100 per a day.


Fatuma relates that her business deployment has brought a new life for her from joblessness to a small business owner and to a meaningful income earner. Her living condition in general has greatly changed for the better with her feeding and closing style improved, and new home furnishings already put in place, using the income of this business.

Shewazerf is another female with her legs seriously impaired contributing to her mobility problems in interaction with attitudinal and physical barriers in Debrebirhan town. She is in her twenties and has become one of the beneficiaries of the economic empowerment component intervention from 2010-2011. Having successfully completed the Urban Agriculture and Business Skills Training rendered by HPD-O, she was granted Birr 3,000.00 startup capital. She invested this small capital in Kiosk and cattle raising businesses. With diligent work effort that involved her family, she has now been able to run effectively and efficiently a Kiosk business and has been raising a cow for milk business in addition to sheep breeding and selling.


Shewazerf tells that this business engagement has become a new chapter of life for her in that she is no longer a jobless and dependent person who looks after the assistance of her family and others dependently in terms of income. Shewazerf has added that her sense of dignity, self-confidence and self-worth has been boosted as her family and other community members recognize and appreciate her working life and achievements.


Still another highly successful beneficiary of the economic empowerment project component in Debrebirhan town is Mr. Degefu Desae. He has been one of the trainees of the Urban Agriculture and Business Skills Training conducted by HPD-O in 2009, with the kind financial support of the Embassy of Finland. Mr. Degefu is married and has 3 children, whom he provides and supports for their living coping with his disability caused by the physical impairments that he has sustained on his one leg and one hand as well as the attitudinal and structural barriers of participation in his community.


Mr. Degefu tells that he had barely fed and provided for other needs of his family before he was supported by this program that has enabled him to make increasingly higher income, enabling him to buy and operate 5 play machines and to buy, fatten and sell several sheep from time to time. He has added that he has ultimately come to earn daily more than Birr 200 by running both business, which he set up with the startup capital of Birr 3,000.00 that he was granted after his successful completion of the economic empowerment training.              

To sum up, 9,146 direct and indirect beneficiaries have been addressed, taking advantage of the kind support from the Local Cooperation Fund of the Embassy of Finland. Out of these  PWDs and their family members are the direct beneficiaries and account for 1,295 beneficiaries. The rest are family and community members, including peers who have been addressed through capacity development and awareness raising interventions aimed at creating and enhancing favorable and inclusive social environment that empowers and accommodates PWDs physically, psychosocially, medically, educationally, and economically.  

The best practices of the CBR program focused on educational and economic empowerment undertaken in the utilization of the grant of the Embassy of Finland are presented below:


Help for Persons with Disabilities-Organization/HPD-O

P.O.BOX 34711 

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Phone: 25111-123-13-67



Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

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