Two Stories of Gratitude


With much gratitude, we are proud to share with you the story of Beyenech Seids. This is the first successful house repair since ROTOM Ethiopia was founded, and we are absolutely thrilled to have taken part in this construction project. Despite years of hardship and trials throughout here life, Beyenech exudes great hopefulness while telling her story.

Beyenech is one of our first seniors who joined ROTOM Ethiopia back in 2017. Born in the rural area of Ataye, Northwest Ethiopia about 600 km to Addis Ababa, her family were impoverished farmers.  In recalling her story with us, the abduction of girls was a pretty common practice in her community while growing up. It’s difficult to hear this and a tragedy . Back then sending Girls to attend school was considered inappropriate. Having them “married off” at a young age was considered a Blessing for their family. Like many rural elders, she is illiterate, and does not even formal marriage. While working in Addis Ababa, she married a man who worked there and they began to have children. Unfortunately, their marriage was not official, causing many issues resulting in her husband abandoning her family. All the burdens then fell completely on her.

In order to take care of her children, she had to work very hard as a maidservant working many long hours. Sadly, she lost her daughter and then traveled to be in Debrezeit, Ethiopia with her son. As a maid, Beyenech baked Injera (a local bread made of Teff grain) for 30 years for one household, but when she got sick she had to cease working there. Also, her eyes do not function well anymore and this type of work caused smoke damage to the eyes. Because of the stress from bad health, and not having a job, she developed a mental disorder. Fortunately, she met a very kind woman who let her live her old kitchen, which was leaky and had a collapsed wall, but was some form of shelter. Because the roof leaked during the rainy season, as was falling apart, she put a bucket on her bed when she slept.

Life has been bitter and despairing but she is not a complaining spirit. In fact, those trials have made her even stronger. The walls of her home actually collapsed on both sides which made her feel cold and insecure about living there. Except for the ROTOM Ethiopia staff taking interest no one had offered to help fix her home, and that’s when we stepped in to assist her with the necessary repairs. In September of 2020, Beyenech’s house was remodeled and furnished by ROTOM Ethiopia, all made possible by the generosity of her sponsor Janet & Ken Kowalski’s extra donation. With the additional donation, her home was now made safe and secure. Our team bought her a mattress, new cabinet and cupboard, and kitchen utensils. We are a witness to Beyenech’s big smile and tears of happiness as photographed above.

Before: A Completely Dilapidated Home

These are her words, Since I joined ROTOM Ethiopia, a place where I found true care, love, support, and family, I feel good about living. I have not dreamed that I will have a clean and well-organized home. I feel like a queen. Now my house is a palace. You make my old age full of joy. You make me equal with other people. My neighbors’ come into my house to have coffee with me. You have changed my terrible memory into joy! I will not regret if I die now. I do not have anything to give you back, but I will bless you forever. May God bless you and yours.” Thanks to Janet and Ken Kowalski’s extra donation as senior sponsors, Beyenech’s life has completely changed.

Our ROTOM Ethiopia team would like to express our deepest gratitude for your valuable support and faithfulness. We could not do any of it without you. Your sponsorship is not only helping seniors and their households but also a community at large. Thank you so much for being part of Beyenech’s smile and joy. May God bless you abundantly for all your contributions towards seniors in Ethiopia living dignified and fulfilled lives.

After: Visiting Her Home for the First Time

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Mat. 25:35-36




“The Role of a Grandmother Should Never be Despised” Jariat’s Story

Grandmothers of today need to be described as a new generation of “Superwomen.” We are truly inspired by the determination, the desire and courage of our widowed Grandma Jariat. At nearly 80 years old, she proves to us over and over again that age should never stop you from doing what you love! Jariat is photographed above in the header of this article.

After losing her husband in war many years ago, Jariat struggled to raise their 9 children and did so in poverty. Unfortunately, 8 of them died along the way and she only has 1 surviving child. Throughout life Jariat has always been enterprising and very resourceful. For years she sold sugarcane and whatever edible thing she could grow in her garden. This helped provide for her family’s everyday needs. As she grew older, she became overwhelmed and decided to close down her business.

When Jariat joined the ROTOM Senior Friendship Program 6 years ago, her desire was to revive her business once again. Fortunately, with support from her ROTOM US senior friend Jariat was able to open up a small kiosk at her home where she now sells “foodstuffs” and firewood in her front yard. She says, “I have found a wonderful family through ROTOM. I appreciate ROTOM for helping me get back on my feet. My support friend helped me build a kiosk where I earn some income. I am now able to meet basic household needs for myself and my grandchildren.” Grandma Jariat is incredible person and inspiration and gives us a new appreciation for the roles that grandmothers’ play in our families and communities.

We hope that society can be more attentive and sensitive to the roles of elders today. We thank you for your selfless generosity, and commitment which makes our ministry possible.