Bedria

One year ago, Bedria took a small loan from Glimmer that set her on a path to not only start her own business, but to create independence for herself and her children. She is now a model farmer, training women in her community on how to restore soil health and generate long-term profit from their land. If you were to meet Bedria today, you would see her confidence and pride as she shares about her farm with all who will listen.

Bedria’s life looked very different just a few years ago. Like many girls in rural Ethiopia, Bedria was forced into child marriage at age 12. After complications and nearly dying during the labor of her first child, Bedria went on to deliver three more children. Bedria remembers feeling so scared that she couldn’t support her growing family.

Then life got harder. Bedria’s husband was murdered and, in line with local traditions, her late husband’s brother married her as his second wife. Bedria relied fully on her new husband for herself and now eight children, creating tension at home. Bedria was trapped.

The opportunity to take an agriculture loan—along with trainings and one-on-one support—changed Bedria’s life at a time when she had no other options. After successfully raising goats, Bedria was selected for additional training. She now teaches other farmers on practices that improve the land and counter the impacts of climate change.

“The community believes in me,” said Bedria. “I am proud to be one of the women who is a lead farmer. It shows that women can work equally to men. Other women in my community have started working on their land after watching me.”

The greatest transformation for Bedria is her independence. Forced into marriage at such a young age robbed her of her education and limited her job options in a rural area even more. Now, with enough income to open a savings account, she provides for herself and her children on her own—releasing her from the ties to her husband. Bedria is also creating a new direction for the next generation. She is so proud that her oldest child is set to graduate and head to university in a few months.