Dejen's Story


Sitting beside his family on a sofa he made himself, Dejen Masresha says, “I love my work. It is a profession where you witness the labour of your hands.” 

Of all the furniture this Ethiopian craftsman has made for his family home, the 38-year-old is most proud of his sofa and chairs. “They represent comfort, style and novelty. I enjoyed making each sofa set in various designs, shapes and colours.”

The sofa is a space where Dejen’s two daughters enjoy spending time together, and where he and his wife help them with their school work. “I want to teach my children to love what they do in life, about the power of prayer and hard work.”


Dejen has worked hard to give his family the life he always wanted. 

Ten years ago he was one of many young men in Ataye, north of capital Addis Ababa, who were unemployed. “I remember when I barely survived with a meal a day,” he says. 

But when World Vision started working in Ataye, Dejen took advantage of a life changing opportunity. With 10 other men living in extreme poverty, he enrolled on a six month course in wood and metal work organised by the development charity.

World Vision helped the course graduates form an association, buy tools and set up a woodwork business. And our MFI in Ethiopia loaned the association members US$1,400 so they could start producing everything from chairs to cupboards.

Most members, like Dejen, went on to set up their own business, using further loans from us. 

Dejen loves what he does now. With his four local employees, he makes furniture at his three workshops and sells designs to neighbouring towns.

It’s a successful business with assets worth over US$6,000. But Dejen is most proud when he boasts that his eldest daughter goes to the best school in town. 

“I am short of words to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to VisionFund and World Vision. I never dreamed I would have all this,” says Dejen from inside a home that he too built himself.


DEJEN's Photos


Dejen's Story