Mother and son in Ethiopia escape prostitution through Christian ministry

March 28, 2019 • Ethiopia

"There are still many women with children in the streets"

When Dawit* was only three and living in northern Ethiopia, his father died. There were no jobs for his mother in the area, so she moved to the crowded capital city of Addis Ababa to live with her sister.

Dawit’s mother found work and faithfully sent money home to where her parents were caring for their little grandson. Then came the death of the sister with whom Dawit’s mother was living in Addis Ababa.

Without her sister sharing living costs, Dawit’s mother could no longer afford to pay her own bills and send money home. She knew her family desperately needed the money, so she joined the sex trade to earn it.

Soon, Dawit’s mother was earning enough from prostitution that she could arrange to have him join her in the city. Although she could hide her lifestyle from her parents because they lived far away, she couldn’t hide it from Dawit. He saw her clients come and go from their home each night for seven years.

Escaping hopeless situation

Dawit’s mother wanted to leave the sex trade but had very few job skills. She thought her situation was hopeless. Then she met representatives of Ethiopia Women at Risk or EWAR, a Christian organization that helps women escape prostitution.

EWAR invited her to join their 12-month rehabilitation program, funded by Samaritan’s Purse Canada and people like you. It features six months of emotional and spiritual counselling, then six months of job skills training. The training options include jewelry making, weaving, food services, and hotel housekeeping.

After opting for food services, Dawit’s mother finished the program and landed a cooking job in a local restaurant. Because EWAR has a program for the children of prostitutes—to help them gain an education and avoid the sex trade themselves—Dawit received school supplies, after-school tutoring, and tuition.

With that assistance, Dawit has graduated from university with a theater arts degree. He hasn’t found much work in that field, but the 24-year-old has landed a good full-time job as a driver for a micro-finance company. The work has given him a passion for business. He hopes to start his own company.

“I know she did it for me”

Dawit is earning enough to care for himself and pay his mother’s rent. He’s also setting a little money aside to help her eventually fulfill her dream of opening a restaurant.

“I have a good relationship with my mom,” Dawit says. “I know she did it (prostitution) for me, so now it’s time for me to pay something back to her.”

Without EWAR, he says his mother would likely still be in the sex trade “and I would’ve dropped out of school and become one of those guys around our area who are known for their addictions and getting involved in criminal activities.”

Dawit has a message for the Canadians who support Samaritan’s Purse Women’s Projects: “We managed to escape from that (sex trade) lifestyle but there are still many women with children on the streets, so please continue to donate to help them.”

We welcome your financial support and prayers. Please join us so that together we can show desperate women the “kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1, ESV).

*Name changed to protect his privacy

More