Erihale and her father Atkilt recently asked to be taken off the receiving end of sponsorship because they are now self-sustainable.
Atkilt and his daughter were in Ordinary Hero’s sponsorship program for the last two years through their partner ministry, Endihnew Hope. This desperate father came to Endihnew Hope Charity Organization on Entoto two years ago to seek help when he and his wife could no longer provide for their family. Both of them were HIV+, and Erihale, then 4 years old, was needing to start school. Because of the love that Ben and Kathryn Walker felt in their hearts towards little Erihale upon seeing her photo and hearing their story, the Atkilt family became sponsored and their burdens were lifted. Below is a picture of our staff telling them they were sponsored.
Then, disaster struck their family. Atkilt received a phone call when he was in the countryside that his wife had fallen ill. By the time he got back to Entoto Mountain in the capital city of Addis Ababa, his wife had already passed away and Atkilt not only lost his beloved wife but also their soon-to-be second child that she had been carrying for six months.
After some time, Atkilt earned a position working at a bank at the bottom of the mountain. His salary was still not sufficient enough for him to be free of sponsorship, so his support continued and his family’s basic needs were faithfully being met through the blessing of sponsorship. During his time at the bank, other co-workers and managers took notice of his incredible work ethic and determination to provide for him and his daughter.
Recently, Atkilt’s life changed when he received the opportunity to work at the airport. He sought out a position at the airport after the government created more jobs, and they gave priority to men that had fought for the previous government. Both Atkilt and his father fought under the late Prime Minister, so Atkilt was able to apply for the position. His hard work ethic and faith in God is what he believes landed him his newest career. He is now a Porter Passenger at the airport and when asked how he likes it, his face lit up and he stated how much he loves his new job.
The salary of his new job is still very low when taking in consideration the cost of house rent, school materials for Erihale, food, clothing, and other needs. However, he makes the majority of his money by receiving tips from the passengers he helps with their bags. This job does not allow him to live extravagantly, but he says it is enough for what he and his daughter need.
When asked why he decided to stop sponsorship for him and his daughter he said, “I am worried for others. When I see Entoto people and when I compare my life to them; I am good. Others on that mountain have children crying and hungry. But when I see myself, I have enough. All praises to God.” He hopes that in graduating from sponsorship that his spot will be given to another family that needs it more than him. He wants others to receive the blessing of sponsorship. Atkilt continued by saying that he is young and able to work and now that he has been given a wonderful opportunity, he wants to provide for himself and his beautiful daughter.
As for Erihale…she is now 8 years old and will be going into the 4th grade this month when school begins.
She is very proud of her dad and the strength he exemplifies. Erihale works hard in school and her favorite subject is English. During her free time, she loves to play Susie (a jump rope type game) with her friends. Thank you to the Walkers for stepping in during this family’s time of need, and thank you to all of our monthly sponsors that are supporting a family toward sustainability.