Entoto Beth Artisan (EBA) 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 two hundred women. The company creates uniquely hand-crafted jewelry pieces using local materials such as recycled tire thread, recycled bullet casing, re-used artillery shells, coated Ethiopian coffee beans and semi-processed gemstones in its metal beads.
In its other product lime, Entoto Bete Artisan produces beautifully designed leather products, giving employment opportunities to many vulnerable women. Ethiopia is one of the richest countries in Africa in livestock and the Ethiopian Government is this time paying more attention to the promotion of the leather sector. Using such an opportunity, the company produces and exports variety of leather products.
Entoto Bete Artisan, in collaboration with some Government offices, brings and hires internationally talented designers for diversifying the products it offers to the world. EBA is also planning to utilize the locally made beads to combine with its leather products and produce an even higher quality product. In this respect, EBA is getting more and more demands for its leather products from different countries in the world and has been exporting to Canada, USA & Australia.
Entoto Beth Artisan is located on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which is in the horn of Africa. The community on Entoto Mountain is around 5,000 people, about half of whom are affected by HIV/AIDs. Most people 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 2,500 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 share 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 that 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 to sell that for less than $1.25 per load.
The owner of Entoto Beth Artisan, Mrs. Bethlehem Berhane, started the project with a vision of restoring, creating and empowering women living with the HIV and she was able to provide full time employment opportunities for all those trained women. The employment opportunity not only gave the women economic benefits but also greatly boosted their moral to support their families and integrate themselves with the surrounding communities.
Bethlehem Berhane is the owner of the Entoto Beth Artisan jewelry business and leather production. She and her lawyer husband had and still have their own separate businesses they make a 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.
Bethlehem 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. Bethlehem saw such depth of poverty all around her. In her own community, she was distressed at the number 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.
Entoto Beth Artisan 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 women who are still at Entoto Mountain.
The other way EBA aspires to expand is, in adding more product lines to the company’s upcoming projects. In expanding its sales outreach, EBA has opened a new gallery in Addis Ababa, to show case its diverse products and to empower artisans that are under privileged.
Entoto Beth Artisan this time has created employment opportunities for one hundred sixty two (162) employees, 152 women and 10 men, where in its gemstones and jewellery product line it has a total of 128 employees (122 women and 6 men) and in its leather product line, it has employed a total employees of 34 (30 women and 4 men).
EBA is one of the known social enterprises operating in Ethiopia, with a special focus in economically empowering and supporting vulnerable women.
Phone: +251 912 60 54 68
+251 911 40 41 45
+251 118 96 50 97