To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we are pledging 10% of sales from the 1-8 March to Give a Future.

Annoushka travelled to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and was touched by the stories of families who could no longer support their children. Through no fault of their own, these children would often end up in orphanages, estranged from their families and lost to their mothers.

This experience prompted Annoushka to give something back by empowering mothers to be able to provide for their children through the charity Give A Future. “Ethiopia is a rapidly emerging economy but is still plagued by poverty. In Africa’s political capital, Addis Ababa, Give A Future change the lives of thousands of women and children,” states Annoushka.
Give A Future is a non-profit fund that was launched 10 years ago by founder Stephanie Ferrario which invests in children, youth, women and artisans in Addis Ababa. Annoushka specifically supports the micro-finance programme which provides business training, small loans and practical support, giving women a chance to support themselves and their families. As little as £35 a year can raise these families out of poverty.
“These women are truly extraordinary; they are courageous, loving and determined. For every woman we support, five other family members benefit.”

Annoushka Duscas MBE
The Annoushka COOP, which was set up at the end of 2014, ran for 3 years with a team of five running it. They promoted micro-finance in the communities around Addis Ababa and actively recruited over 1000 women. To this day, it is still very active and is now running smoothly and independently. This COOP has been independent for the past 2 years and costs £3500 per year to keep it running, with two women employed to run it and with an office in Shiromeda.

Out of the 1200 women that have gone through this programme, 240 are currently active and the rest now run successful businesses supporting their families.
Meet thE
extraordinary women
Derarsa Taye
Derarsa used to be a housewife with 3 children and could not meet the financial demands of a family with her husband earning very little as a night guard. She is in her 6th round of loans and has been with the programme for four years producing a local traditional beverage, similar to beer.

She has managed to save a lot of money in those years and continues to grow her business. She plans to diversify her business and would love to open a shop and employ people.

As a role model in her community, she often advises other women on business issues and works with several local cooperatives to mentor other women. She can now support her whole family, provide safe housing and food, provide for her children when they are sick and can send them to school with a lunch box. (She is seen here crunching the dried leaves of this “tella” plant before turning it into an alcoholic beverage).
Shibre Tadesse
Shibre has been in the programme for three years and is in her 4th round of loans. She is part of a group that knits scarves, hats, pullovers, cardigans and other garments. Through her savings over the years, she makes enough profit every week to support her family. Shibre has one child in school and a husband working as a guard.

Thanks to the knitting group, she is now able to market her beautiful clothes and accessories. They can access the marketplace better together and as a team make more profit. They work in a free space provided by the government and have a little shop to sell their wares.
Meseret Kebede
Meseret has been in the programme for three years and is in her 3rd round of loans. She is a mother of two children and lives in a rented house with four other family members. She is an embroiderer and part of a knitting group.

Her savings enable her to draw a nice profit from her handicraft every week, to send both her children to school with food and to provide for other family members. Her husband has been unemployed for two years and she is able to meet the financial demand of her household. Her plans are to open a shop for traditional Ethiopian clothes in the future.

£18,500 (roughly 766,00 birr) was loaned out in 2019 with many women taking more than one loan per year and paying it back in record time. The loan amount has gone up immensely per woman as most women have successful businesses by now and need loans to grow their businesses even further. The maximum loan amount was £1500 for a woman in 2019.

Annoushka continues to support this incredible programme that has provided inspirational women with hope and positive energy. Their drive, determination and motivation to change their family lives is something to behold. They have all grown in courage, business acumen, self-confidence and have inspired others with their stories. The level of education has gone up and the awareness of investing in their children’s education is much higher too.
Annoushka Annoushka Annoushka
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