VLM volunteers often come home from Ethiopia with a lasting impression of their experience and with a will to continue working from Ireland for the people they met while volunteering. There are many stories of change to be told from the continued commitment of returned VLM volunteers to the work of the Daughters of Charity and the Vincentian Fathers with disadvantaged people across Ethiopia. One such story is that of the Ayalew family.
Tsehay Ayalew (36) has three daughters (13, 8 and 4) and a on-year old son. She and her daughters were homeless on the streets of Maychew, for a number of years. Her vulnerable situation lead her to be a victim of violence, which had a negative impact on her mental and physical health.
Outreach into the community is part of the work that the Daughters of Charity do through their income generation programme, which is supported by donations from the Chic & Cheerful charity shop in Carlow, co-founded by a returned VLM volunteer.
Through this outreach, Tsehay became linked in with the Daughters of Charity, which provided her and her three children with a safe home, a house of bricks and mortar. Tsehay was also given a opportunity to take up employment with the Daughters of Charity in their primary school in the town, as a cleaner.
Tsehay has recently offered a small storage room in her house to an elderly woman who has become homeless. Tsehay says that she understands now what it is to have a safe home and would like to share it with this unfortunate woman. Tsehay’s children are attending school and doing very well there.