From Cleaner to Supervisor: Meet Medi
What is your full name? Medhanit Fekadu, but everyone calls me Medi! My name means "medicine."
Where are you from?
I am from outside of Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. I was born and raised at one of the Sebatbet Gurage Zones called Enemore. I moved to Addis for a job and better opportunity.
Tell us few things about your family?
I am the first child of my parents, and I have two younger brothers. When my mom died, my dad married another woman. I was just a young teenager, but had met a man and had a child with him by then. After a while, my child's father and I started to fight and we ended up separating. In the middle of this, my dad passed away and I took on the responsibility of raising my two younger brothers. I was 20 years old at this point. During this time, my ex approached me and we got back together. When I was pregnant again, we separated and I came to Addis Ababa.
How did you get connected to Carry 117?
When my child, Yabsira, was two months old, one woman used to visit me and pray for me. One day, she brought me to Mission Ethiopia, an organization in Korah that was run by an American. This organization hired women and taught them to make paper and clay beads. But this organization no longer exists. I will never forget how the women at Mission Ethiopia greeted me and how they welcomed me! My job started at Mission Ethiopia as a part time cleaner of a small room for 300 birr ($13 USD) salary per month. Henok also worked at Mission Ethiopia, and he was the one who hired me there. Then, when Henok decided to start his own organization, Carry 117, he hired me full time. I am very grateful for all he has done for me. I really love Henok!
How did you come to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?
A man named Corey, who was on a short term mission team from the USA, asked if he could pray for me and I agreed. After he prayed, I came to know and accept Christ as my personal Savior.
What are some things you learned through working at Carry 117?
I have learned a lot! I was hired as a helper for the Carry 117 team in preparing materials for the sewers. That means I was in charge of organizing and folding the fabric. I also had to measure and cute the fabric. But, I began to learn how to sew and I am now one of the best sewers! Not just one of the fastest, but also more accurate. I have also learned how to organize and follow-up with things in the workplace, and I am now promoted to being the On-Site Supervisor at Carry 117. I went from a part time cleaner, making less than 700 birr ($26)/month, with no skills, to a full time on-site supervisor, making 2000 birr ($75)/month, with many skills I have learned.
[Perspective: On average, an Ethiopian who graduates from a 4-year University and begins working makes roughly 1500 birr ($55)/month when they begin working.]
How has your life changed since you started this job?
My life has changed a lot in every direction. I can't explain how much my self-esteem has grown. I can now provide for my child and for myself! I have rented a good house for me and my son. I am able to send my son, Yabsira, to school. Before, I did not even have a bed. But now, I have a bed! I feel like I can achieve anything now. I can confidently tell people I have a job, I support myself and family, and I know how to make the most beautiful bags. My life has changed because of this job.
What are you most proud of yourself for?
I am proud of myself for my patience and resilience. I have overcome many ups and downs and lots of challenges by being patient and resilient.
What goals do you have for yourself andfor the organization as the new on-site supervisor?
(Laughs) I want to contribute to the growth of Carry 117 and I will do anything in my power to cover for Shimmy (our designer at Carry 117) when he is not available.
What would you like to say to anyone who buys Carry 117 bags?
I want to say thank you very much and God bless you!