EMPOWERING UNDERPRIVILEGED MOTHERS IN IMPOVERISHED COUNTRIES
Many people in impoverished countries, such as Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Philippines, Honduras or El Salvador, leave their homes to work in distant countries to be able to provide for their family. This trend is affecting struggling women, in particular, the single moms who must leave their children in the care of a relative while the mother goes to another country for work where she is typically employed as a domestic worker for 2-3 years at a time. Work conditions are not ideal for these mothers. They are often stripped of their passport, their freedom and any social life. They live and work with very little opportunity to interact with anyone outside of the house. Some are never permitted to leave throughout their contract. Many of them are either physically or sexually abused leaving them trapped between providing for their children and maintaining their freedom and dignity.
The Tabitha Reach was founded with the goal that these women don’t need to have to choose between the two. They should have the opportunity to stay with their families, in their own community, as they learn to believe in themselves, learn a skill-set and build the means, resources and willpower to make a sustaining income. We want to help them move from a place of struggle to a place of thriving and to set an example for others to follow.
Rita Khayat, a San Francisco Bay area businesswoman, became familiar with this situation when she employed a domestic worker from Ethiopia while working as an expatriate in Lebanon. While her employee was enjoying a good level of freedom, this wasn’t the case for the majority of the other domestic workers in the country. Rita learned firsthand, the bleak outlook that uneducated, impoverished women face in Ethiopia. Women who have been undervalued and have limited choices to care for themselves. For generations their culture has taught them that the men are superior.
Rita responded by starting the Tabitha Reach in 2017, formerly The Tabitha Foundation, as a program under the fiscal sponsorship of Inquiring Systems, a non-profit US based organization.
It is Rita’s dream that through the work and love of Tabitha Reach, each woman finds her way to a new beginning.
Tabitha provides hope through direct, personal connections; creating financial independence and empowerment.
Struggling single mothers from the same neighborhood meet twice a week in a group setting that includes teaching, discussions, assignments, fellowship and lunch – with childcare provided.
Trained local coaches meet with each group member weekly for mentorship and follow up. Over the course of two years, the curriculum addresses many different aspects of their struggles and teaches them about their value, self-identity, hygiene, raising children, earning money, saving and investing.
The women receive training and resources to pursue income generating opportunities such as sewing and baking. The ideas come from the women, Tabitha provides support and encouragement.
IMPACT: CHANGED LIVES
Over 50 women have graduated from the program and most are a living testimony of the effectiveness of the Tabitha Reach program. Almost every trainee talks about her situation before & after attending the program, marking a major turning point in their lives. These women frequently comment how they feel loved, and secure to talk open and freely. This new freedom restores their desire to learn–something they never thought possible before the Tabitha Reach program.
Our goal is to expand the local team in Ethiopia and run multiple groups. We also plan to start similar programs in other countries such as Honduras and El Salvador. Ultimately, Tabitha Reach would like to be present in any impoverished country helping to transform the lives of the struggling and underprivileged single mothers to thriving women.
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