Ayana's Story

From Orphan to business success


— A Tough Childhood

Her mother dying during childbirth and her father five years later in an accident, Ayana was forced to live with her uncle’s family in their already over-crowded house. As she grew up, Ayana was often left alone for extended periods as her guardians worked long hours to support their own family. When she turned 12, Ayana was told to leave her uncle’s house and she found herself on the dangerous streets of Ethiopia’s capital. All alone, Ayana was targeted by criminals who sold her into a clothing factory as forced labour. After escaping the dormitory, a community worker told Betseb International of Ayana’s plight and we developed a plan to help her.


— Betseb To The Aid

When Betseb first met with Ayana, we were extremely impressed with her tenacity and optimism despite all she’d been through. We identified her as at high-risk and moved her into our orphanage straight away and took care of her immediate needs such as food and clothing. After a period of rest, Betseb International was able to help with supplies to enable Ayana to attend school for the first time in her life. Her natural intelligence shone through and Ayana was able to graduate from high school with the highest marks from her year. Betseb offered to help Ayana enroll at a local university but she instead chose to start her own ethical fashion business.


— A Ethical Brand Is Born

Ayana had witnessed firsthand the terrible conditions in some of Ethiopia’s clothing factories and decided to create a brand that looked after its workers. Betseb was extremely proud to supply Ayana with a microfinance loan to start her new traditional clothing enterprise. Our loan covered the first sewing machine and enough fabric to make her initial dresses which quickly sold at the local markets. Ayana smartly reinvested the proceeds in her business and purchased more materials to make new clothes and repay some of her loan. Over the past two years, Ayana’s business has gone from strength to strength and is now employing another 2 women to help with production. Her microfinance loan was repaid in full on time with Ayana and her employees now enjoying sustainable incomes thanks to the simple act of a small loan.

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