Mekika Aman 2


Mekika Aman:
from street child to chef

Employability training for unhoused people

Mekika Aman lived on the streets of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa for 11 years. With support from Invest for Jobs, she completed an employability training and is now training to be a chef.

Mekika Aman has no memories of her mother. She died when Mekika was only six months old. Without a mother, she initially lived with her father in Adama, a city in central Ethiopia. When she was four years old, her father remarried, but Mekika did not get on with her new stepmother. ‘She treated me badly right from the start and we often had fights,’ Mekika says, looking back. After a particularly bad row, Mekika decided to leave home when she was eight. She set off on the 80-km journey to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.

She had intended to stay with relatives who lived in the city, but when she arrived, she abandoned her original plan and spent the first night in one of the central squares in the city. One night turned into many, and Mekika ended up spending 11 years living and begging on the streets. Life on the streets is dangerous, particularly for young women, who live in constant fear of sexual abuse, harassment and theft.

Accommodation and employability training for homeless people

Shortly after the birth of Mekika’s second child, another homeless woman told her about the Wendem Kalid Foundation, which offers homeless people a place to sleep, food and medical care. With support from Invest for Jobs, the foundation also runs employability trainings. The aim is to support people in their transition from living on the streets to a stable life with a job and their own income.

Mekika made her way to the Wendem Kalid Foundation that same day. After she and her children had settled in, Mekika started the employability training. The curriculum includes lessons not only on communication skills and relationship management but also on self-motivation and self-discipline (e.g. punctuality and maintaining a professional and well-groomed appearance). After finishing the course, the former unhoused people undergo an on-the-job training in one of the companies of the Wendem Kalid Foundation’s network.

Mekika is currently training to be a chef at a catering company. ‘I love baking biscuits,’ says the young mother with a broad smile, ‘but I also like cooking traditional Ethiopian dishes such as lentils, potato stew and cabbage.’


With my own income, I can stand on my own feet and take care of myself and my two children.

Mekika Aman

A new chef in Addis Ababa

As soon as Mekika has successfully completed her training, the catering company will offer her a job as a chef. Then she’ll be working at big events such as weddings, treating the guests to her culinary creations. Mekika is optimistic about the future: ‘With my own income, I can stand on my own feet and take care of myself and my two children,’ she says. The partnership between Invest for Jobs and the Wendem Kalid Foundation will give more than 100 former unhoused people the chance to take part in training and get a good job. 


We are looking forward to hearing from you

Under the Invest for Jobs brand, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has put together a package of measures to support German, European and African companies in investment activities that have a high impact on employment in Africa. The Special Initiative "Decent Work for a Just Transition" – the official title – offers comprehensive advice, contacts and financial support to overcome investment barriers. The development objective is to work together with companies to create up to 100,000 good jobs and to improve working conditions and social protection in its African partner countries.

Partner countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia.

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