My life could have tragically ended in the Mediterranean

Wednesday 8 February 2017

Tesfaye Haftu, 27, is from Simret kebele, Endamehoni Wereda of Tigray Region He completed grade 10 and has been trying various things to make a living. With pressure from peers, he fled to Addis and became a ‘Qoralew’ boy (collecting and selling second-hand household items). He says that work was like a lottery draw every day. On some days, he would make up to 100 Birr and on others only 20 Birr. Hence, life became increasingly hard in Addis, and he and his friends agreed to try to illegally travel to the Middle East. Fortunately, his family found him and brought him back home to get married and settle down.

After coming back home and leading his life as a married man, he came to know about two friends from his neighbourhood who were being supported by POTENTIAL. They were running a large irrigation farm in the Kebele. . This inspired him to use the same opportunity, and he was later targeted for the third round of the project. He passed through Positive Youth Development, Work Ready Now, and Be Your Own Boss trainings. After passing through the trainings, he was able to start a business and lead a new life.

After completing the trainings, Tesfaye took 30,000 Birr loan, leased land, and started producing garlic through irrigation. In the meantime, he started buying and selling wood products. After six months of business, he made 60,000 Birr and paid back his loan in full. He also has garlic worth 10,000 Birr in the warehouse constructed by the Kebele for young people like him. Tesfaye has recently requested for a loan amounting to 60,000 Birr from Dedebit Saving and Credit Institution, which he is promised, will be given soon. He plans to expand his existing business and start new ones.

Tesfaye says POTENTIAL’s intervention saved him from his intended risky trip to the Middle East, and may have saved his life. He sadly recalls his friends who took the risky trip over the Mediterranean and ended up dying on the way. “If this opportunity didn’t come, my life could have tragically ended in the Mediterranean.”