19 February 2015
Sister Elizabeth Endrias assists a trainee at the Congregation of the Daughters of Saint Anne Vocational Training Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (photo: CNEWA)
Name: Sister Elizabeth Endrias
Order: Congregation of the Daughters of Saint Anne
Facility: Women’s Promotion Center
Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
It’s a small building, filled with the sounds of life. Whirring sewing machines. Scissors snipping through fabric. Voices filled with hope for the future.
At the Women’s Promotion Center in Ethiopia’s capital city, teenage girls and women learn the skills of making clothing—from fabric cutting to sewing to embroidery. They are among the poorest residents of this poor country. And their training serves one purpose: survival.
A group of nuns from the Congregation of the Daughters of Saint Anne runs the center. The sister in charge, Sister Elizabeth Endrias, is 24 years old. But the program she’s developed is intensive. “Training takes from ten months to two years,” she explains. “This year we have thirty trainees in dressmaking and seven in embroidery.”
With resources limited, the school has begun charging a modest fee. For the poorest students, however, money is never a barrier. “In this case we intervene, inquire about their difficulties,” Sister Elizabeth says. “And when we find it necessary to support them, we offer them free education to complete their studies.”
She remembers the day one teenager arrived with her father. “He had the desire to help his daughter in her training. He told me the extent of their poverty but willed to pay.”
The father paid for two months, but grew ill and passed away. “Imagine the challenge facing this 18-year-old girl,” Sister Elizabeth says. “We not only exempted her from fees, but also gave back to her mother the two months payment that her father had paid.”
That young seamstress—her name is Hanna—plans to start a dressmaking business to support her family. “Sister Elizabeth is very special for me,” she says. “She rescued me from losing this opportunity after the death of my father. I am very grateful to her.”
For the women who fill the center each day, Sister Elizabeth and her fellow nuns are role models. Her supervisor, Sister Weineshet, explains that all have wide-ranging abilities. “If they work with women, not only their religiosity is needed,” she says. “They need to be equipped with a holistic knowledge of women, their needs and challenges.”
At Catholic Near East Welfare Association, we’re proud to support the sisters’ important mission. And as they help improve the lives of women who have so little, one thing is certain: the good sisters will be grateful if you can help too.
Thousands of sisters. Millions of small miracles.
To support the good work of sisters throughout CNEWA’s world, click here.