Deaf Women Empowerment: Project Update

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In early 2016, EWDNA launched a new partnership with Visions Global Empowerment (, a Los Angeles-based global nonprofit organization dedicated to youth education and empowerment, for the empowerment of Deaf women in Ethiopia.

The purpose of this new partnership is to provide livelihoods development support for 20 Deaf women, to conduct leadership & empowerment trainings for Deaf women in becoming community advocates, and in building the capacity of EWDNA itself.

Recently, sixteen (16) women successfully completed a 3-month food preparation training at the Vinvinido Food Preparation Training Institute in Piassa, Addis Ababa. The training was structured into three 2-hour sessions per week. Trainees were equipped with the skills necessary for preparing different kinds of breakfast foods, snacks, pastries, etc. The training was specifically designed to teach members how to prepare food which does not require huge capital or equipment.

Following the completion of the program and graduation ceremony, a 4-day business skills development training was then provided for the 16 graduates in order to help participants to:

§  Identify the kind of business each woman wished to pursue

§  Help participants to create individual business plans

§  Calculate the estimated costs, revenue, and profits, and how to set prices for their goods/services

§  Understand how to save & access credit

§  Understand how to interact with customers

Following this 4-day training, all the women were requested to present their business plans to EWDNA for review. Then, EWDNA staff conducted individual home visits to assess the viability of each plan. Ten of the 16 women submitted business plans, while the other 6 are still working to secure a free work space from the government before submitting their plans. Once each of the first 10 business plans were approved, each beneficiary signed an agreement on the permitted usage of funds.

In total, 8 out of 16 of the women are now earning enough to be self-sufficient (up from 0 before the start of this program!); 2 out of 16 are in the early stages of their business but are making progress; and 6 out of 16 have not yet started their small businesses on account of still trying to secure a free work space.

Of the women now running their own small businesses, the average monthly income is now about $69/person, and the average total savings per woman is now about $127. This is just the start -- more progress will surely ensue!

Photos by Jason Benovoy

EWDNA wishes to thank Mr. Jason Benovoy for providing the majority of the professional images used throughout this website and in recent marketing materials. EWDNA was fortunate to have the very talented Jason join us a few years back, at which time these beautiful photos were taken. You can see Jason's full EWDNA storylogue on his website at