The Beginnings - Why Berhan Yehun?

In the year 2007, Abigail Asheber Belete was in the midst of studying for her MBA and working as an Adjunct Faculty at the University of Indiana South Bend, when she decided to go to Ethiopia for a three-month vacation. She decided to go on this exploratory trip after feeling a heavy burden in her heart for her fellow Ethiopians living in poverty that she has carried with her for many years.

She hoped to carry out an evaluation to determine the level of need and poverty in the capital city of Addis Ababa. She hoped that upon her return to the United States, the needs assessment/evaluation of neighborhoods she would carry out in Addis would enable her to serve as an informed link between those who were in need in Addis and those who wanted to help in the United States.

Once she began visiting neighborhoods in Addis and talking to the resident families however, she quickly realized that three months was not going to be enough…and that she could not leave the needs she was now exposed to unmet. She was compelled to stay in Addis and begin addressing the immediate needs. Thus, Berhan Yehun (Let there be Light) was born.

How the work in Kore (Qore) began:

In September 2007, Abigail along with her friends Wosene (Nunu) Debero, Elsabeth (Elsi) went into a community called Kore to assess and experience the depth of poverty in the community. They contacted a social worker who had worked in the area to help them start their home-to-home visits

First Home Visited

The foursome’s first stop was at Mama Fetale’s house. They had been told that Mama Fetale is very privileged to be living in a 2-room mud house built by an NGO a few years back. Mama Fetale live in this home with her three children and her 5-year old grandson. Mama Fetale is around 70 years old. She had come to Addis several years ago seeking a cure for her leprosy. She is currently being treated at ALERT Hospital, located very close to where she lives.

Despite her disease, Mama Fetale is a very joyful lady who could not stop talking about the amazing things God has been doing in her life. She talked about how she got her house and how God called her out from the streets where she was begging to feed herself and her family, living in a small plastic shed. She reported that she no longer works because of her age and the loss of her fingers and toes due to the leprosy. She gratefully stated, however, that her son works and gives her 40 birr (less than US$4) per month. When asked how she manages with this small amount, she stated that her Heavenly Father who fends for the birds in the sky also fends for her.

Second Home Visited

The second family the foursome visited was a Muslim family. This family - father, mother and two children lived in a one-room hut. The father was reported to be out looking for day a labor job. The mother was reported to be a very strong business minded person who could move ahead if she was healthy and had little start-up money. At the time of the visit, she was recovering from gastritis and was advised by the doctor she saw at a free clinic to rest and not work until she fully recovers. She stated that she is looking forward to getting better so she can go out and look for means of generating some income. She talked about selling spoiled fruits and vegetables discarded by vendors in the city, but very well eaten in the neighborhood, as her most viable means of income.

Third Home Visited

The third house visited was another a very small sized one-room hut where a born-again Christian lived with her twins and a relative. She was very sick with gastric ulcer due to the long hours she works hand-washing clothes on an empty stomach, not having money to by enough food for herself and her children. When asked why she continued working despite her sickness, she stated that she did not have any other means of raising the 120 Birr (about US$ 12) to pay for the rent of her one-room hut and feed her children. She stated that her husband had left her because of her faith and although she does not regret making the choice, she was discouraged because her sickness was getting worse. She reported spitting blood while washing heavy clothes such as gabi (blankets), and as a result, she was informed that she could no longer work. It is on her relative’s income of around 2–4 birr (about US$ 00.20-00.40 cents) a day that they were currently surviving. The twins looked very thin & malnourished.

Account Information

In the USA

Chase Bank acc. Routing Number 102001017
Acc.No 635143397 SWIFT Code:-chasUS33

In Ethiopia

Commercial Bank of Ethiopia,
Mekanissa Branch, SWIFT Code: CBETETAA
Account Number: 222C01000036