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Enquayehu Asres - Ethiopia

Enquayehu Asres, an LSN-Ethiopia Outreach Worker, lost the use of her left leg when she was three years old after being given a shot of the wrong medication at a hospital. Although Asres was lucky enough to be allowed to complete her education through high school, she remembers her school years as very difficult and painful. Her parents were ashamed of having a child with a disability – except for going to school, she was not allowed out of the house.

After completing her education, Asres moved to Addis Ababa to find a job. She had little success until she joined the “Tailoring Cooperative Association” owned by people with disabilities. She worked for the cooperative for over ten years, and while there, learned about LSN from other survivors. She received peer support from LSN, and when the vacancy announcement for the Outreach Worker position was announced, she jumped at the chance to join LSN.

Meeting and working with other people with disabilities at the Cooperative helped Asres understand that she was not alone and that she was capable of leading a full life. She is passionate about passing that realization on to the survivors, particularly children, that she meets every day in her work as an LSN Outreach Worker.

“People look at our disability rather than to our abilities,” says Asres. “One of the challenges we face is the negative attitude of our families, schools and the community. That is why LSN is making an effort to work with children and youth survivors in peer support groups. We encourage them to share their experiences with each other, and with us. We are also working with their families to provide them with vital information that could assist them to understand and support their children.”

Asres as become a best friend to many of the survivors she visits. They share their problems, hopes and fears with her. Asres says she knows she has made a difference in their lives. “They trust me and I have their acceptance,” she said. “I am also learning from them. Many of them express to me their support and appreciation. This always gives me the courage, strength and interest to work with survivors and LSN.”

View the next profile: Mulatu Assefa

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