Written by field director, Lincoln Vallett:
Reut has had to overcome many obstacles in her life. Her parents passed away at a young age. After that she spent some time with an emotionally abusive relative before entering and growing up in an orphanage. If you met her on the streets of Addis Ababa you wouldn't guess that though. You would see a sweet and loving young woman in fashionable clothes that fits in with the rest of Addis' rising generation.
When I met Reut 8 months ago she was helping some friends get registered for college. She told me her story and how she was learning to become a nurse. She was about to graduate from another non-profit program but was not ready or qualified for the work field.
I asked her former program director if she could be entered into our program and he graciously gave me permission on behalf of his organization.
After that Reut entered into the Addis Ababa program of our partner, Talita Rise Up, living in an apartment with another young woman who had a similar story. From there she was able to focus on growing personally and finishing her education.
A month ago, Reut completed her nursing education and wasted no time going on the job hunt. Within 3 weeks she had taken a job at a day care. Now she is out and living her life on her own, as she says she has wanted for a long time.
But to just focus on these physical accomplishments would only be a small part of the full picture.
In the half year that she was in our program, I watched her become transformed by love. She gained many friends, mentors, and a family through her time with Talita Rise Up. When I asked her about her time in the program she said, "The most special part about the Talita program was love. They became like my family."
When I asked her where she grew the most in the last year she said, "In my knowledge of God. I learned that I can depend on God for all things." During her time in the program she received the gospel of Jesus Christ and got plugged into a church where she is regularly attending services and a bible study.
She is also grateful for the person who through support, empowered her to grow to where she is. About her sponsor she said, "I love her. When I think about her I think about the good heart that she has."
Though we have seen success in her steps to independence, something much more important has happened for Reut. She has grown in her faith, her confidence, and her own love. All this has come through the love she has received.
Physical support is nothing if it's not given with love.
And though Reut is more independent, she is not on her own. She has a family now, and families don't just forget their kids when they leave or "graduate". They stick by them, look after them.
Independence is not the goal. Love and life change is the goal. And in that we all have something to celebrate in Reut's story.