Overcoming Disabilities to Earn a Living
The Wolayta Sodo Center for the Blind is providing employment to 18 men and women without sight who turned to begging around churches and streets when the Center faced shortage of finance to purchase inputs for production and management problem.
UNDP Ethiopia through LED Programme provided them with USD 5,667 (102, 000.00 Birr) and entrepreneurship training which have enabled them to restart production.
Using this small fund, they purchased inputs such as clay soil, caustic soda, fat, and other inputs and restart production of bricks and soaps.
Mamo Madebo,committee chair of the Center, said, “Now, this center produces at least 6,000 bricks a month but the burner can burn up to 8000 bricks at a time and we can burn two times a month.” He said that currently, the Center sells a brick for USD 0.14 (Birr 2.50) and the Center earns about USD 833.34 (Birr 15,000) per month.”
He added that this income enabled our center to give us a monthly dividend from USD 16.12 (Birr 290.00) to USD 18.34 (Birr 330.00) regularly to 16 blind persons, two physically challenged persons and six supporters of the team working at the Center. We are also able get recurrent money for buying in puts and to pay tax for the government.
Anjore Mena, 35, shared her challenges with her previous income situation. She explained, “Our monthly income before we restarted production was not only as small as USD 0.28 (Birr 5.00) to USD 0.56(Birr10.00) but also it was not regular. After we restarted production, we have been getting a regular salary of Birr 330.00 a month each."
Local businesses and the community is also benefiting from this centre. Seifu Mekuria is Site Manager of Wolayta Sodo Hospital Expansion Project ,which is one of the customers of the bricks produced by the Center. He said “The Center supplied us high quality bricks and we are very much satisfied with the quality of the product.” He indicated that he provided the center sample bricks with different décor designs so that the Center can produce bricks that can be used for building houses which reduces costs for cement for finishing works as the bricks need varnish only.