“I am Firehiwot Yemane from Ethiopia. I am a FAWE beneficiary attending Ambo University. I was born and brought up in Dabat, which is in the northern Gonder zone of the Amhara region in Ethiopia. I was born on September 5, 1987; I have 3 sisters and 3 brothers, among whom I am the third eldest.
I met with FAWE when I was in my first year as a student at Ambo University in 2005 GC. I was one of the beneficiaries of the scholarship program that FAWE was offering to women students, especially those having financial problems and who could not continue with their schooling. FAWE was supporting us by providing us with different types of support, such as books, tutorial classes, gender assertiveness and empowerment training, financial support for our tuition and small expenses. I feel so lucky to have been part of this project because I just could not have made it without them. I am sure FAWE did not regret investing in me because I graduated from my Bachelor’s Degree with a GPA of 4.00 out of a possible 4.00, scoring all A’s. I was the highest scorer and the gold medalist of the year in my University, which is the highest award. My elder sister and my mother attended my award ceremony. They were really proud that I stood first before every student in the campus, moreover it was very exciting that I could show the people who were there, that women are capable of doing better than their male counterparts. I am the only one in my family who attended university. I am a role model in my family and my community, and I always try to encourage the girls of my village to strive for the best despite the poverty that seems to be a barrier to their dreams.
At this point, I am a lecturer at Ambo University and working on my Master’s Degree in Cooperative Management. I will be graduating by the end of this Ethiopian academic year. I am planning to go as high as possible in my studies; nothing will stop me now with God’s support of course. I am planning to continue my career as a researcher and instructor in Ambo University until I get the chance to continue my PhD. I will be looking to have various short term trainings and courses to better prepare my career.
Given that I was one of the beneficiaries of the FAWE scholarship program, I feel it is normal that I give back to the community what I was lucky to receive from others. My dream is to help the girls that are in need of assistance in any form and kind. The people at FAWE showed me the way to make a brighter future for myself and a way of helping other girls with the potential to achieve their dreams as well. I have started a program in my university to welcome and guide newcomers as a mentor and a guide. I am also trying to help girls in the campus through the gender office of the university in addition to the private consultations I have with newcomers.
I am very glad to be part of the FAWE beneficiary network in Ethiopia. It is only normal that I give back a little of what I received, as I could never pay back fully for what FAWE had done for me. I would like to thank FAWE regional secretariat and funding members as well as all its national chapters for each and every thing they have been doing for the past 17 years to help African women achieve their dreams. I understand that it is not a one-time activity, and that we the beneficiaries need to continue such assistance towards younger girls as much as possible to rescue as many women as possible".