Freedom Fund partner Emmanuel Development Association (EDA) is a frontline organisation in our Ethiopia hotspot. EDA seeks to raise awareness of safer migration, engage and build the capacity of local institutions to better address and prevent human trafficking, provide job training and support to women looking to work within Ethiopia, and assist aspiring migrant workers to comply with legal requirements for migration.
Fatuma is from Dessie in Ethiopia’s Amhara region. She has been employed twice as a domestic worker in the Middle East, both times in Saudi Arabia. The first time she travelled informally when she was only 17 years old, coordinating with a local broker in Ethiopia who did not consult with her family. After working for two years in Saudi Arabia, Fatuma was deported and returned to Ethiopia with no earnings.
After living with her parents for two years without employment, Fatuma was selected by EDA to participate in business training and subsequently received start-up capital to launch her own business. As part of the project, EDA also provided life-skills training and information on safer migration and the risks of human trafficking.
Fatuma decided to try to migrate again after two years once the ban on migration for domestic workers had been lifted. She consulted with EDA to learn more about formal migration channels, and with their support, she was able to complete the legally mandated training on domestic work. After receiving her certificate of completion, she contacted a local employment agency that was able to assist her in travelling to Saudi Arabia through formal processes.
Fatuma stayed in Saudi Arabia for over nine months and EDA was able to monitor her working conditions through both the IOM and the Ethiopian employment agency. Fatuma reported that she was happy with her employer and work. She noted that she was better prepared the second time she travelled and felt more confident in completing her daily house chores, given the pre-departure training and information she received. She noted, “Now I can get my salary regularly and transferred through my personal [bank] account, which I opened while still in Ethiopia.” She also noted that she has a monthly day off and was able to call her family back home in Ethiopia. She also received a raise given her excellent work.