When Mekdes was 18, she left her home village and went to the capital, Addis Ababa, to work as a housemaid. But her dreams of a better future were brutally destroyed when her employer raped her and she became pregnant. “When my stomach got bigger and bigger, they threw me out and I ended up on the street,” says Mekdes. “My greatest wish now is to be able to send my daughter to school once so that she can escape poverty,” says Mekdes. “I don’t want her to feel like I am.”
I know of many similar cases in Ethiopia, where I was born and grew up, and each one of them evokes deep compassion on me. I and my children are doing very well in Austria, which puts me in the fortunate position of being able to help others and that is exactly what I want to do. As a father of five, Ethiopia’s children are particularly important to me, and I want to help them get better education. Mekdes and similar cases are an invitation for me to do something, so I want to get involved in this project.
Esayas Berhanu-Endeshaw, vice chairman