From forced Beggar to a Passionate Lawyer

Wudie Atnafu, aged 28 is from Amhara region, Debre Markos. Though she is a first born to her parents, she could not bring full joy to them as she lost her vision at birth. Her parents could not send her to school since there was no school system that accommodates children like Wudie. Unlucky Wudie was left at home while her siblings get the chance to learn. Her father brought her to Addis Ababa so that she could get the chance to get education and kept her with relatives. However, the so called relative sent her to the streets of Addis Ababa to make money of begging instead of sending her to school.

Wudie became a virtual slave at the age of 9, begging the entire day and give the whole money to her masters for no reward except abuse and disrespect.

‘Sad by my situation, neighbors who knew my story informed the case to the police. Immediately the case got due attention by the police and I was taken to a blind school located 22 km west of Addis Ababa. I was immediately admitted to the school as first grader and started studying. I continued my education until grade 8 at the boarding school with other blind children. No one came to visit me nor supported me all the 8 years. When I was promoted to grade 9, I left the boarding school (since the boarding school is only until grade 8) and paid 137 ETB /month. It was during this time that my mom who divorced with my dad, and contracted TB came to Addis to seek refugee and medical treatment. I felt like I was juggling frogs as I had to pay house rent, take care of my mom, feed myself and pay all my bills with this money. It was at this time that I met some nice people. I met a social worker at Siiqqee and explained her about my situation and then she introduced me to Zertihun, the executive director of Siiqqee. Zertihun asked me if I was interested to join the girls’ education program. I was so excited when I heard this.

I was considered in the program with more than 60 other girls. I got many supports in the program-I got scholarship support, food aid and financial support. I got several training that enhanced my life skills and built my confidence. A lot of influential women leaders from the parliament, university, and many other institutions invited by Siiqqee came to inspire us. We all were lucky to complete high school and join college with excellent grade in our entrance-I was the top scorer from my batch. In college, I studied law because I wanted to advocate on behalf of girls, especially disabled women who are oppressed by virtue of their femaleness. Siiqqee supported me from high school through college and I graduated with good grade. After graduation, I joined the ministry of justice and now I work as a prosecutor at my birth place. Every day I meet women who share my mom’s story. I make sure justice is served for oppressed women. Siiqqee’s support along with my life experience and education gave me the boldness as well as the passion to serve the women who still need my help. In my turn, I am helping Siiqqee in my profession I am elected as a vice chair of Siiqqee’s General Assembly. I thank Siiqqee for impacting me this way. Helping Siiqqee will produce empowered women like me that advocate on behalf of others’.

Wudie Atnafu, aged 28 is from Amhara region, Debre Markos. Though she is a first born to her parents, she could not bring full joy to them as she lost her vision at birth. Her parents could not send her to school since there was no school system that accommodates children like Wudie. Unlucky Wudie was left at home while her siblings get the chance to learn. Her father brought her to Addis Ababa so that she could get the chance to get education and kept her with relatives. However, the so called relative sent her to the streets of Addis Ababa to make money of begging instead of sending her to school.

Wudie became a virtual slave at the age of 9, begging the entire day and give the whole money to her masters for no reward except abuse and disrespect.

‘Sad by my situation, neighbors who knew my story informed the case to the police. Immediately the case got due attention by the police and I was taken to a blind school located 22 km west of Addis Ababa. I was immediately admitted to the school as first grader and started stadying. I continued my education until grade 8 at the boarding school with other blind children. No one came to visit me nor supported me all the 8 years. When I was promoted to grade 9, I left the boarding school (since the boarding school is only until grade 8) and paid 137ETB /month. It was during this time that my mom who divorced with my dad, and contracted TB came to Addis to seek refugee and medical treatment. I felt like I was juggling frogs as I had to pay house rent, take care of my mom, feed myself and pay all my bills with this money. It was at this time that I met some nice people. I met a social worker at Siiqqee and explained her about my situation and then she introduced me to Zertihun, the executive director of Siiqqee. Zertihun asked me if I was interested to join the girls’ education program. I was so excited when I heard this.

I was considered in the program with more than 60 other girls. I got many supports in the program-I got scholarship support, food aid and financial support. I got several training that enhanced my life skills and built my confidence. A lot of influential women leaders from the parliament, university, and many other institutions invited by Siiqqee came to inspire us. We all were lucky to complete high school and join college with excellent grade in our entrance-I was the top scorer from my batch. In college, I studied law because I wanted to advocate on behalf of girls, especially disabled women who are oppressed by virtue of their femaleness. Siiqqee supported me from high school through college and I graduated with good grade. After graduation, I joined the ministry of justice and now I work as a prosecutor at my birth place. Every day I meet women who share my mom’s story. I make sure justice is served for oppressed women. Siiqqee’s support along with my life experience and education gave me the boldness as well as the passion to serve the women who still need my help. In my turn, I am helping Siiqqee in my profession I am elected as a vice chair of Siiqqee’s General Assembly. I thank Siiqqee for impacting me this way. Helping Siiqqee will produce empowered women like me that advocate on behalf of others’.

 

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