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Home » Groups » Medhanialem ‘Holy Saviour'

Medhanialem ‘Holy Saviour'

Name: Medhanialem ‘Holy Saviour” SHG, 

Location:Hawassa, Southern Ethiopia

Date of Establishment: September 6, 2010 

Membership: 14 female members aged 21-55

Household: The group represents 49 household members including 21 children: 10 boys and 11 girls.

Economic status: We have average monthly household incomes of £20-40 which is just above the poverty line by international standards. Most households can provide 2-3 meals a day for all family members with some fruit and vegetables and occasionally some meat. We have our own homes and can afford beds. We buy new clothes for children once a year. Three or four of our children, the majority boys, will be able to attend school to grade 8 (approximately 12 years old) and we can provide health care for general problems but would slip into debt and possible destitution should any serious illness occur.

Medhanialem SHG members’ initial savings were 3p per week but now we save 11p each per week. In total we have saved £127. The group has a social contribution of 3p per week that helps us to support one another during times of sorrow or emergency.    

The group’s first loans to members were of £3.30 each and the largest loan we have made is £17. In total we have loaned £95 since we started. These loans have been used by members to start small businesses like trading injera (pita like Ethiopian bread), local brew, cabbage, potato and charcoal. We have had training from the project and other agencies like the health bureau, women’s affairs office and NGOs that work on prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. We have also helped to clean our village and have visited sick people.

We plan to open a wholesale business, buy a grinding mill and give service for the community in our village.

 What the SHG means to Abebaye Tesfaye

 “I am married with five family members. Before joining my group I used to stay at home, dependent on my husband’s income. I wanted to work but I thought that only rich people with sufficient capital are the ones who can start businesses. My social relationships with my neighbours were very poor because I didn’t have reasons to communicate with them. My responsibility was only to do the household chores and my husband was the one who covered all the expenses. His was wage was very low that it didn’t allow us to eat three times a day.

After I joined my group, I started to save each week and six months later, I took a loan of £17. I bought thread, needle and other materials to start a handicraft business. I have had this skill for years but I never thought that it would help me to generate income. I produce many different products for sale and these enable me to be profitable. Now I’m supporting my husband by covering part of our household expenses and our lives are improving. We are eating three times a day. This is a huge progress in our family and it is because of the Self Help Approach.”


With your help, we can support the further development of the Self Help Group programme so that more people can work together to use their own resources to feed their families, send their children to school and improve their communities as this group has done.