Ethiopian Stories

Ethiopians handcrafting 007Atalu: I am very happy that there is someone who thinks of us and can help us, I thought no one would even look at us. Due to our language problems, we cannot fit into a regular work position because we do not understand what is asked of us. I signed up for years to get a regular job with the government, but to no avail because of the language barrier.

Now that I am involved with the sewing project, (I was the first to join), I feel healthy in my soul and body. Every day I have something to wake up for; when I come home, I sleep well, and have peace in my home. My wife feels good that I go to work and enjoys me as I am now, so much better than before and my kids are proud of me.

Ethiopians handcrafting 002Yohannes: Before I started with this important project, I would spend my days sleeping, waiting for the days to end. Since I’ve started working
here I feel healthier, my blood pressure has gone down, the stress has
lessened and I have started eating better. I was a teacher in Ethiopia,
and here in Israel, I just could not ‘find myself’ or who I am. When I started this project I didn’t even know how to hold a needle, slowly I learnt and now I am good at it.

Mesfin: Whoever started this project should be much blessed. I still
suffer from many health problems, and once I stayed at home all the time, but since this project started I can’t wait for the night to pass and the morning to come.

Ban’tsamalek: I am very happy to be a part of this project, I used to
clean for many hours a day until a sickness took over and I had to stay at
home; I felt frustrated and not worth anything until I heard about this project, I came to ask what it was about and since then I have been working here. I feel good now, and have ‘come back to myself.’ I know how to sew and now have ‘come home’; I feel healthy and proud of myself when I look at what I have done.
I believe we must continue growing in this knowledge and share it with others.  In our Ethiopian community, we don’t know how to share our knowledge and here we now have an opportunity.

Malasa: I say, this is a blessed project. I too I am ‘jobless’, because of the language barrier and other problems. When this project came up I was the first to be happy about it, because before that I would sit and play cards all day with people who were completely depressed with their lives, and had no reason to get up in the morning.  Today I am part of this sewing group and also opened a garden in the yard to grow different vegetables from Ethiopia; we have almost no need to buy in the market now. On one hand I save money that way and on the other hand we have peace at home. My wife goes to the garden, picks what she needs and feels good, as in Ethiopia.

Abega: I am a pensioner; I am proud to be a part of this project and spend my days doing it. I have friends in the project; we work and chat together and don’t notice the day passing which is very important. Besides this my hands are working every day and really improving. When I see the work I have done, I feel proud and sometimes find it hard to believe how much improvement and success I have made in this work. We need to keep this place open and for more hours. I think it would be a good idea to open another sewing group, instead of sitting at home doing nothing. Here people take notice of us!

Ezra: My wife and I are part of this project; for us it is a life saver. I suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes. Half of our children are in Ethiopia, awaiting financial support. Since we are working here, we have sold some of our work and immediately we sent the money to our children and saved their situation. This project is important and must go on.

Zemana: I am very happy to be a part of this big project. Since I started, I come every day. If I go to visit my family and cannot therefore come, I take my work with me, so that I can continue working. Even on Shabbat and Friday when we do not work, I feel something is missing in my life and wait impatiently to start working again as soon as Shabbat is over.

Mulu: I have been in Israel almost 10 years and during this time I had not met anyone who took an interest in us. Nobody ever asked if we know how to do anything and that was the worst because it made us all feel unequal. I heard about this project a few months ago and joined in and suddenly realized the power and potential that I have. Today I feel healthy in my soul, it is like an art therapy for me.