Tens of thousands of women work as fuel wood carriers in Addis Ababa. These women are often the head and sole support of their families and earn less than $12 a month. One third are between the ages of 10 and 19. Often barefoot, the women carry bundles of eucalyptus branches weighing 75-80 pounds over 10 miles down Mount Entoto to markets in Addis Ababa. The conditions are harsh and guards sometimes harass them, demand bribes or assault them. Despite the risks to their health and safety, women fuel wood carriers have no choice. They lack the education and financial resources necessary to make income alternatives a reality.
Connected in Hope is an innovative, nonprofit social enterprise that uses fashion and design to create opportunity for vulnerable women and their families in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Connected in Hope provide access to international markets as well as the support, training and sustainable income artisans need to lift their families out of extreme poverty. They are currently employing nearly 100 artisans (creating woven textiles, leather products, art and jewelry) who are able to provide for 400+ dependents with the income they earn for their work.
The artisans are paid up front for their products and 100% of the profit from sales is reinvested in programs that benefit the artisans and their families. Profits enable Connected in Hope to provide artisans with business training, leadership development programs, health care assistance and literacy classes. In addition, the organization operates a preschool, kindergarten and after-school program serving 100 children, including the children/grandchildren of our artisans, as well as other children from the neighborhood surrounding our weaving compound.