Asnaku has had a remarkable journey. When she was still in her early years of primary school, her mother passed away. Shortly after, her father passed away, leaving Asnaku a double orphan.
In a small period of time Asnaku had lost both her parents and knew of other family. Luckily, she found out that her father had a previous wife and children from a different marriage and her stepmother took her in. Asnaku’s stepmother was very kind and affectionate towards her. “She is a real mother for me,” said Asnaku. “She doesn't differentiate me from her biological kids. She’s the best.” Asnaku is a character of incredible resilience and strength. Despite facing many obstacles, Asnaku has overcome all odds to pursue her education.
When Asnaku joined BHE she was in 12th grade. Sadly, her results were not high enough to join a government university in the regular program. She was very upset and decided not to continue any further education. With the support and guidance of BHE Asnaku’s hope was restored when she joined Addis Ababa University, through an extension program. Asnaku was very motivated and was eager to earn a place in Addis Ababa University regular program.
Asnaku worked hard to achieve extremely high grades and was accepted into the regular AAU to study the course for Bachelors of Accounting and Finance.
Brave Hearts has been providing Asnaku with her basic needs such as medical, nutrition allowance, and counseling services in which she has attained several life skills. Like many role models in history, Asnaku believes that education is the key to the future and has been working very hard to enable herself to support herself fully as a young adult in the future.
In Asnaku’s words, “BHE was beyond my expectations through the friends I made and the staff I call my mentors. I thrived and achieved my full potential under their loving care. BHE was there for me and I don’t know what I could have done without the family here. It is not just the financial help, you know, it is just the sum of everything that helped me overcome the fear and hopelessness I was going through.” When referring to the Saturday psychosocial support sessions she received Asnaku says, “The counseling and Saturday sessions at BHE helped me nurture my self-esteem and build a strong foundation to leap to my dreams."
Asnaku is now 21 years old and graduated last month with her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Accounting and Finance from the Addis Ababa University Faculty of Business and Finance.
She full heartedly and confidently says that these sessions changed her life for good and gave her different perspectives about herself and the world. There are two lessons she says she learned from these sessions that she has already made her life principles; There is this phrase Koni uses to motivate and encourage us to be the very best that we can be. “If you are a cleaner, be the best in your profession.” So I thought, I am a student, and I must be the best student that I can be. During one of our Saturday sessions, our social worker Dawit gave us this tree analogy. ‘Where are your roots now? How strong are they to form a strong trunk and branches? What fruits are you going to bear in the future?’ That really made me realise how change starts from within and how knowing and understanding where we stand matters most in order to grow and help others through our talents and gifts.”
Asnaku’s biggest message to the other kids is the same advice she got from BHE that enabled her to reach where she is now; “Be the best in whatever field you are in. Strive to excel in everything you do,” Asnaku shares.
She continues to spend most of her time at the centre giving back to the community to ensure that other kids have the opportunity that she did. She gives inspirational speeches, supports the younger kids and helps coordinate summer activities for them. With her radiant and kind personality, she has been a wonderful addition and role model in our BHE family.
Asnaku’s story is incredible and extremely motivating for the younger members of our BHE family. It gives us great pride to see the transformation of a bright young girl into an educated, confident young woman with a bright future and who is ready to make a difference. Her extraordinary success story is a testament of how life can be transformed when accesses meets potential.
Brave Hearts Ethiopia believes that education is the most powerful tool that can empower orphaned and vulnerable children and youth to pull themselves and their communities out of poverty. Thank you all for your generous donations, which enable us to support girls such as Asnaku to transform their communities.