After taking part in an initiative called “Enebla: Let’s Eat Together” yesterday, I sat down with four of the organizers to discuss the drive and the reason why they are passionate about helping others. Below is their answers about why they are passionate about homelessness and why they care so deeply about helping our fellow “invisible citizens”.
Teodrose Fikremariam: Tell us about yourself, where you are from and what you do for a living?
Milli Getachew: I am a 25 year old Eritrean who was born to a mixed household, I am at once Eritrean and Ethiopian. I grew up between two cultures, in a way I felt at home in both cultures but never really connected to either. This has been a blessing and a burden of sorts, I feel connected to both heritages and see the beauty of both without bias to neither. This level of “unbelonging” made me search for a connection that I never really felt growing up. In a lot of ways, that is what I assume homelessness to be, a search for a connection and a quest to belong. That is why I am passionate about helping others, I feel moved and compelled to be a GPS for others because really I am on a map quest to find myself.
Teodrose Fikremariam: Why do you care about the homeless and why are you passionate to help them
Milli Getachew: I think we are all one bad break away, one missed paycheck or one missed opportunity away, from a life of homelessness too. Every day I am reminded of how lucky I am, because I too could be just a heartbeat away from a life on the streets. When I help out others, I am really helping myself. There but for the grace of God I go too. When I feed people who are homeless, when I give them gurshas from my heart, I am feeding my soul too. It really does not take too much to change the trajectory of people’s lives, a little bit of kindness and compassion can literally turn the fortunes of people from depression into elevation.
Teodrose Fikremariam: how does your faith inform you and how does it motivate you to care?
Bethel Explora: I am Christian, so of course this is the core of my teaching. It is more blessed to give than to recieve. My name means “house of God”, Eyesus when he was on earth fed people as much with his words and deeds as he did with his super powers. I believe we are called upon to be like Eyesus, to feed people by walking next to them and to nourish them with our gifts. Like Milli said, I too feel compelled to give of my talents and to lift people who need it the most. It truly does not take that much to turn people’s lives around, I am here to do my part, to give back as I have been given. There is nothing as profound in this world as nourishing people’s lives and being a part of a movement to give homeless people hope.
Teodrose Fikremariam: what is the best way to help people when they become homeless?
Bethel Explora: It depends where you are trying to help. In this country (US), most, not all, chronic homelessness are caused by loss of income, substance abuse and mental health issues. So to help the homeless here I think the best approach would be to be a genuine caring person and friend , Connect people to resources – job placement, psychological help, therapy, Rehabilitation centers. There is not one way to do things, there are many avenues, the answer is to look for a path instead of thinking that all is lost.
Teodrose Fikremariam: Why should Ethiopians and Eritreans care about homelessness?
Bethlehem Bekele: I think the most important thing is to be a safety net when people are falling through the cracks. It happens to everyone, it is a matter of time before the floor falls beneath us and we find ourselves looking up. During these moments of tribulation, what is needed the most are not lectures or preaching but for those who are able to just be there to listen. We are called upon as believers to just be, not to save but to be present. I think the best way to help people in this way is not to save them by force but to heal them by walking next to them and letting them know that they are not alone. Click To Tweet
Teodrose Fikre: what do you want to do professionally?
Bethlehem Bekele: I am a banker by profession and passion, but really I am passionate the most about helping out people. I love to serve others and to be there for them during their times of need. As a cultural and a healing ambassador, my aim is to provide hope for others and to show them that today’s tests are tomorrow’s testimonies.
Teodrose Fikremariam: What does enebla mean to you?
Matt Andreas: Of course, there is great poverty, hunger and homelessness in Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is important to help people in need, wherever they are. For diaspora Ethiopians and Eritreans who are here in the US, it is important to recognize that, even in prosperous America, there are people in need. Enebla means sharing what you have. That is a motivating force in my life. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
Enebla is a 501-3C founded by Joseph Gessese, an organization that is rooted in helping people who just need a break and to lift people out of the abyss of homelessness. Find out more about “Enelba: Let’s Eat Together” by clicking HERE or on the picture below and help us feed each other so we can eradicate homelessness and hopelessness in Ethiopia, America and beyond.
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