Entoto Beth Artisan is a FAIR TRADE Ethiopian social business dedicated to restoring the HIV/AIDS infected community on Entoto Mountain by providing fair-wage employment to over one hundred women. We create uniquely hand-crafted jewelry pieces using local materials such as recycled tire thread, recycled bullet casing, reused artillery shells in our metal beads and even coated Ethiopian coffee beans.
In addition to this, we produce beautifully designed leather products by giving employment opportunities to many people. The fact that Ethiopia is one of the richest countries in Africa by live stock and the fact that government is now a days paying more attention to the leather sector access to a very high quality leather. EBA, in collaboration with some government offices, imports and hires internationally talented designers for diversifying the products we offer to the world. EBA is also planning to utilize the locally made beads to combine with our leather products and produce an even higher quality product.Due to this we are getting more and more demands for our leather products from different countries in the world.
Entoto Beth Artisan is located on the out-skirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which is in the horn of Africa. The community on Entoto Mountain is around 5000 people, about half of whom are affected by HIV/AIDS. Most people have come to Entoto St. Mary’s Church on the mountain seeking healing from their disease through fasting, praying and bathing in the holy water near the church. Of the 2500 people, most have come from outside of Addis Ababa looking for healing from the holy water. Many left their relatives and everything that they knew either because they wanted a chance to be healed, their family did not want them anymore after they found out they had HIV, or they wanted to leave the harsh stigma of HIV and find solace in a community of people who shared the disease.Many end up living in very poor living conditions with no opportunity for work, no positive way of supporting their families, and very little hope for the future. Almost all of the population lives on less than $1 per day with many resorting to begging near the church or worse carrying back-breaking loads of firewood on their backs into the city for less than $1.25 per load.
The owner of the Entoto Beth Artisan project, Mrs. Bethlhem Berhane, started the project with a vision of restoring, creating and empowering women living with the HIV and provided an employment opportunity for all of the trained women. Employment not only gave the women economic benefits but also greatly boosted their moral to support their families and integrate with the surrounding communities.
Bethlehem Berhane is the owner of the Entoto Beth Artisan jewelry business. She and her lawyer husband had and still have their own separate businesses they make a well living with. And it is from these other businesses’ income that she had started the EBA’s first initial finances. Her heart for the women of Ethiopia is always growing. Her ideas to change the situations of underprivileged women are continually expanding and pushing her forward in her business endeavors and her future goals. She learned about the Entoto Mountain community back in 2008, and visited the projects run by the Beza Entoto Outreach. She was inspired to push herself to do the same. She came from a background not full of money or comfort, but she was inspired by her mother, who through God’s grace, constantly made a way for her family and mentored her young daughter into the woman she is today. Betty saw such depth of poverty all around her. In her own community she was distressed at the amount of women who have little education and very little chance of finding proper employment. Despite being downcast by the situations of women all around her, her passion began to expand within her. She dreamt of a new day for Ethiopia and for Africa. “God will make a way! One day, the dreams in my heart will become a reality! I will be a solution in my country for others.” She promised the Lord that she would one day coordinate and create jobs for at-risk women in Ethiopia.
EBA is expanding and growing in so many ways. And one of the ways is increasing the number of artisans whose life will be changed through this work by reaching out to the 2,500.00 women who are still at the mountain. The second way is by adding more line to our upcoming projects. Accordingly, we have started working on leather products using local raw material and creating more opportunities of work for more artisans for which we already got a very good market in different countries
Our jewelry relies primarily on lead- free beads that are hand crafted by local farmers by malting bullet casing and leather products using 100% Ethiopian hides. all of our design are created by using ancient Ethiopian material materials fused with contemporary international concepts
Our ultimate goal is to offer long term employment to everyone on mount Entoto by Empowering each individual artisans. by doing so we believe, in return they will empower those around them to rise above the cycle of poverty which will led to positive change not only in our city but in our nation.
Our program focus on women affected by HIV/AIDS who would otherwise have no opportunity for professional employment by treating these women with dignity and respect and by providing them the opportunity to earn alivable income we have seen restoring come to their live