To say our Staff works relentlessly on behalf of each one of our Students would be a vast understatement. They often bear the burden of balancing OA policy with the individual needs of any given Student at any given time.
We hope you are inspired by this special story about one of our recent graduates, Abyssinia. And that you see that even when it goes beyond OA policy, all things are considered, and we are driven above all by compassion and mercy. Our desire is to invest in the overall well-being of each of our Students no matter what the circumstances are.
We recently received the following email from Tigist, one of our OA Social Workers, regarding Abyssinia:
“Hello Dear All,
I hope this email finds you well. Today, I am sharing Abyssinia’s story with you. I am so happy and proud to be able to write this story because I remember the email I wrote about her a few months ago. She proved how strong Korah kids, even the girls, can be if we believe in them and give them the opportunity. For me, she is the trophy winner! She is such an inspiration!
Dear Stacy, I KEPT MY PROMISES! I hope you remember you asked for her story to be written and shared to be an inspiration for many. THEN was not the time, but NOW is! Because she overcame it!
This is Abyssinia’s Story
Abyssinia is one of OA’s recent graduates. She received her BS Degree in Midwifery from Mettu University. When the COVID-19 outbreak happened in Ethiopia in early 2020, all schools and universities got closed to control the spread of the virus. By that time, Abyssinia came back home and was involved in the activities OA prepared for university students. The school shut down got prolonged for few more months due to COVID-19.
In the meantime, Abyssinia faced an unplanned pregnancy from a 7 year-long relationship that she was planning to turn into marriage right after her graduation.
It was a hard time for Abyssinia because she was still left with a few months to graduate. The concerned OA staff members talked to her and learned about the situation. According to OA’s child sponsorship policy, girls who got pregnant while they were in school would be terminated from the program immediately. However, OA decided to entertain her case in a special manner considering the challenges brought by COVID-19, the fact that she was left with 3 months to graduate, and that she had a good record with the program. Therefore, we let Abyssinia stay in the program and she was willing to get back to school and accomplish her studies.
We were hoping the schools would be reopened before she gave birth but that was not possible because school reopening got postponed yet again.
At that time, Abyssinia, unfortunately, had complications with the pregnancy and got hospitalized for a month. Then she gave birth to a preterm baby boy as per the doctors’ recommendation. The delivery was by C-section due to the complications. This was the most challenging time for Abyssinia because of the physical pain and the emotional turmoil that came along with the situation.
While Abyssinia was dealing with this hard time, her university made announcements for the students to go back and complete their studies.
We did not expect Abyssinia to go back to school given her situation. However, she got back to school a short 10 days after her delivery, despite the pain she was going through. She traveled 543 kilometers (338 miles) by bus even before her wounds had healed. It was the most difficult travel she had ever experienced because she was in so much pain and she had to leave her infant at home. She went back to school in spite of all the factors that could have held her back. She attended all classes, performed practicum courses, and conducted her research. Then she gracefully graduated with a very good grade point average.
All OA families are very proud of her! She is a real fighter! She makes us so proud! For us, she is the trophy winner!
Here is what Abyssinia had to say in her own words:
“I am so happy and grateful for God for all He has done in my life. I feel like God loves ONLY ME! I was in a lot of pain and struggles; I cried a lot when things felt unbearable at times. But I am the HAPPIEST PERSON now! The trying times are gone; I am a proud graduate and a happy mother! It feels great to graduate with my friends who started school together. I know and just proved everything is possible if we are determined! I am grateful for OA for providing the best Educational Opportunity. I could not have been where I am today without OA’s support. I am a better person now. I am thankful for OA staff for your kindness. I feel like I get a family and friends here. I thought I was terminated from the program when I got pregnant because I know the policy. However, you guys decided to walk extra miles with me and lead me to my destination. I will never forget this! I am eternally grateful!”