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Women at Risk

#mcjourney2016, AFRICA TRIPS, FROM THE FIELD, Women at Risk

#MCJourney2016 Day Four : Women at Risk

The Mocha Club Journey team has landed back home safely in the States – back to the same work week but not back with the same heart posture. Each project partner we visited left us with a change in knowledge, perspective, & joy. One of our team members, Lizzie, shares about one such encounter…


From the Shadows into the Light: Renewing Hope for Women and Girls in Ethiopia


As we drive down the streets of one of Addis Ababa’s red light districts, dozens of young girls stand in the shadows against concrete walls, faintly illuminated by the cold glow of fluorescent streetlights. Girl after girl, with only a few feet separating one from the next, flash past us as we make our way down the rows of rundown shacks and dingy bars. Nebiyu, the program manager for Ellilta Women At Risk, takes us from one location to another, each street lined with dozens of sex workers waiting for their first customers of the night. I try to count how many there are, but quickly find it’s impossible – there are too many to count. In disbelief, I asked Nebiyu if there’s always this many girls out here. “No,” he explains, “it’s still early, and it’s a Sunday. There’s usually much more.”

This is life for thousands of women and girls in Addis Ababa. Figures estimate that there are as many as 150,000 prostitutes in the city alone, and the number is rapidly growing. Here, the price for sex runs as low as 10 birr, which is equivalent to less than 50 cents in US dollars. Women and girls who have entered into prostitution are marginalized, exploited, ignored; they are regularly victims of abuse, often living in poverty. So it’s a valid question to ask: Why would they do it?

In our culture, there is a common misconception that prostitution is a choice. However, I would argue that in most cases, prostitution actually arises from a lack of choice. In Ethiopia, many women come to Addis from rural areas across the country in search of a better life for themselves and their families. Over 80 percent of Ethiopia’s population lives in the countryside, where the average income is less than $1 per person per day. Desperate for work, girls will leave their rural homes and make the journey to Addis. However, without education or job training, many will eventually abandon hope in ever finding work and resign themselves to a life of prostitution with the belief that they have no other option.

For other women, sexual exploitation may be the only life they know. A vast majority of girls on the streets were victims of sexual abuse as children, with estimates ranging anywhere from 75 to 90 percent. Others are the product of intergenerational prostitution, where mothers involved in sex work will raise their daughters to follow in their footsteps. So the women we see standing on the street may not have been trafficked from another country, chained to a bed, and sold to strange men; but is there ultimately a difference between physical chains and psychological ones?

Regardless of how it begins, the outcome is often the same: frequent and often severe physical abuse, sexual assault, sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and addiction. One study found that 68 percent of prostituted women met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which falls within the same range as combat veterans and victims of torture. Women who are in prostitution also have a significantly higher death rate than women who are not.

It is apparent that the dangers are incredibly real but many perceive them to be inescapable. In a study conducted across nine countries, 89 percent of women involved in the sex industry are desperate to escape, but feel they are unable to overcome their circumstances due to economic necessity, addiction, a lack of employment options, coercion, or access to basic human services such as a home, education, job training, counseling, or treatment. This is where organizations like Ellilta Women at Risk step in to break the cycle of exploitation and abuse. Through their programs, Ellilta Women at Risk has renewed hope for over a thousand women, giving them a life of freedom and restoration.


The Program:

Ellilta Women at Risk (EWAR) is a holistic 21-month program for women who want to escape the commercial sex industry. Throughout the entire program, women are given access to free childcare and a monthly stipend, which frees them from the financial pressure to return to the streets to support themselves and their children. The first six months are dedicated to counseling, nutrition, and treatment. The following six months provides the women with training in a marketable skill, job placement, and any assistance if they wish to start their own business. After 12 months, the women will have successfully graduated from the program but will continue to have monthly check-ins for an additional nine months as they begin to search for new jobs or start their own business.

Ellilta Women at Risk has a partnership with Ellilta Products, which is a company that provides additional job training and employment to women in the Women At Risk program (to learn more about their story, visit


To ensure that their children are cared for throughout the duration of the program, EWAR also covers any school fees and provides daycare services, after school tutoring, psychosocial and medical support, organized activities, and summer day camps. This provides children with a safe place to live, play, learn and grow.


During a field study conducted in local schools and churches, EWAR found that the average age that a person enters prostitution is age 12. At this age, children who have grown up in an atmosphere where sex work has been normalized begin to view their bodies as a source of income. To prevent and protect these children from sexual exploitation, EWAR meets with local schools and churches to educate the community on the risks and damaging effects of prostitution.

From victims to leaders:

90% of the women who graduate from the Women at Risk program never return to prostitution. These women transform themselves from victims into survivors, and from survivors into leaders. Many go on to start new businesses, and often return to support and train other graduates. Relationships are renewed, families are transformed, and hope is spread through the entire community. EWAR has been so successful in their work that grassroots ministries from over a dozen African countries have duplicated their model and are now transforming the lives of thousands of women all across Africa.

The morning after the night drive, Nebiyu drove with us to the Women At Risk program center in Nazareth, a city about 2 hours outside of Addis. Our van came to a stop in front of a colorful gate surrounded by high walls. The dark images in our minds of countless young girls hidden in the shadows melted away as the guard opened the gate and we walked into a bright courtyard filled with lush greenery, mango trees and orange hibiscus flowers. Several stations with sewing machines and vibrant fabrics were set up in the sunshine, and we were instantly met with warm smiles and the sounds of laughter. It was immediately obvious to all of us that this place was a safe haven; a world away from the life that these women once lived.

The transformative power of this program in the lives of these women, their families, and their communities cannot be overestimated. I will never forget these women, their stories, their strength or their bravery. I will never forget the smiles on their faces or their tears of joy. I will never forget the love they pour into their families and each other, or the love they have fought to pour back into themselves.

Partner with Mocha Club in supporting Women at Risk!

FROM THE FIELD, Women at Risk

One Woman’s Story

One of the best ways in which we can communicate our gratitude to you, our members, is by sharing with you positive stories and changes that have come out of the Mocha Club project’s in Africa.

  Anna*, a woman from Arsi Robe in the Oromiya region in Africa, is currently enrolled in the Ellilta Women at Risk program in Adama. Up until just a little while ago, Anna struggled with a very difficult life. She suffered a very unstable upbringing, living under multiple different caretakers, and ultimately setting out on her own when she was not much older than 11.  Anna met a man in one of the first jobs she took after she began living on her own, whom she married, and she began living with him and his child. Anna became pregnant with her own child, and she and her husband sought medical care in in Addis Ababa. Unfortunately, during her prenatal check-ups, it was discovered that Anna was HIV positive, and that she had contracted the disease from her husband. Anna was of course very angry with her husband for not informing her that he had HIV, but she continued to live with him, because she had no other options.

  After Anna gave birth to her child, she left her in the care of her aunt, and went back to Adama to find work as a day laborer. Anna found and worked day jobs such as washing clothes and cooking for people, but she ultimately fell under the influence of some women who told her that becoming a prostitute would help her to make more money. Anna unfortunately fell into prostitution for nearly ten years, until finally she was approached by one of the counselors from the Ellillta Women at Risk program. Anna became one of 22 women who were selected to join the rehabilitation clinic. Today, Anna is still enrolled in the rehabilitation clinic at Ellilta Women At Risk, and is partaking in a structured counseling program. She said, “One of the reasons I decided to join E-WAR was that I had the fear that if I don’t stop prostitution, my daughter who is 14 years-old may follow in my steps and start prostitution.” It is hard not to admire Anna’s true courage and strength.

  It is because of the help from our members that stories like Anna’s exist. It is through your participation in the Mocha Club that we are able to give women the assistance and the bravery they need to accept help and change the course of their lives. Our hope is that through our collaborations with you, we will continue to see more positive changes like this one.

Support women like Anna!

*Out of respect & safety of our partners, names have been changed.


19 Women and Counting…

We are happy to share that 19 women have completed the Women at Risk program in Nazareth, Ethiopia this past December!  They have gone all the way through the process of counseling, nutrition education, and job-skills training and have even started their own small businesses. To prepare for the responsibility of owning a business, the women were counseled in goal setting, work ethics, and time management.


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All of the women also received medical support and health care for their different needs. Not only do the women receive medical treatment, but their children (24 in all) have received the same care and attention.  Along with the children that were already part of the program, 49 children were provided with school fees, school uniforms, and education materials. While all of these children receive tutoring education about a fourth of them receive special counseling, as well.

And the good news continues…

Nineteen NEW women have just been recruited and have started the program!  These women have entered the structured counseling program where they participate in devotions, group discussions, individual counseling sessions, and skills training. With each quarter and with your support, we see women enter back in society with dignity and skills to make a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities. And with each graduate, there leaves room for more women at risk to enter into a place of safety and rehabilitation. We can not do this valuable work without your support. Thank you!

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Will you be part of seeing nineteen new women graduate in the next quarter? Join us today and as a thank you, we will send you a gift from our store – including a hand-made Ethiopian scarves made by one of the graduating women!

Support women today!

#mcjourney2016, AFRICA TRIPS, Women at Risk

Mocha Club Journey Stop #3 : Women at Risk

Next summer we are headed out on a journey to Africa with visit Ethiopia and Kenya! Our trips provide an opportunity for Mocha Club members and their friends to visit Africa and witness firsthand what giving up a few mochas a month can do, while having a chance to serve the African people. 

We will take the next couple of weeks to introduce you each of the spots we will be visiting on our journey!

Last up: our partners at Women at Risk.

Sunday morning we will attend church with our Ethiopian country director, Asrat Gizaw. Attending church in Africa can be a powerful and moving experience. After the service, the team will spend some time talking with Asrat, and learning about the large pastor training programs that he facilitates in Ethiopia.

We will set out early for Nazaret, where one of our Women at Risk facilities is located. The location is outside of the city of Addis Ababa, and will present an opportunity to see a somewhat different side of Ethiopia. Upon arrival, the team will meet with Cherry Friedmeyer, the director of the Women at Risk program. Cherry will give the group a tour of the facility and talk about how the organization came to be. The story showcases how one small effort can turn into what is now a life-changing program.

We will take another day to visit more of the city of Addis Ababa with Asrat as our guide. We will also have the opportunity to visit with some of the teachers and students of the Common Ground Pastors Academy through our parent company, African Leadership.


(or download the application & mail in):

Mocha Club
P.O. Box 2888
Brentwood, TN 37024-2888

ARTISTS, Women at Risk

EXCLUSIVE Acoustic Video from VERIDIA

Watch the NEW EXCLUSIVE Video from VERIDIA

“Still Breathing” (Summer Sessions)

“I am honored to be able to partner with an organization like Mocha Club who is helping change the lives of women in Ethiopia. The work Mocha Club does is close to my heart and something I’ve been passionate about for years, spreading awareness to end the sex trade that tragically spans our world. To be able to share the stories of these women and support them directly is just a start, and we’re so proud to stand with them in their triumph.” – Deena Jakoub

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Learn More about Mocha Club:

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See VERIDIA this Fall!

veridia_banner 1280x1280  Sept 15 // Birmingham, AL // Workplay Theatre

  Sept 16 // Little Rock, AR // Stickyz Shack

  Sept 17 // Houston, TX // Warehouse Live Studio

Sept 18 // Dallas, TX // Cambridge Room @ HOB

Sept 19 // Oklahoma City, OK // 89th Street Collective

Sept 22 // Springfield, MO // Outland Ballroom

Sept 23 // Kansas City, MO // The Record Bar (18+)

 More dates at


ARTISTS, Women at Risk

Join the Club with Becca Bradley!


Becca Bradley Press Shot  WHITEI am so excited to be linking arms with the Mocha Club as an artist sponsor! The fact that God could use my music and ministry to change the lives of people in need across the globe is truly overwhelming. I’ll never forget the first time I heard some of the stories of the women that Mocha Club reaches through their Economic Freedom program in Nazaret, Ethiopia. Countless women and children in Nazaret are forced into lives of prostitution as a desperate attempt to get out of poverty, but it becomes a vicious cycle that slowly eats away at their dignity.  Mocha Club comes alongside these women to provide spiritual, emotional and psychological counseling and to help them find alternate means of income to support them and their families.   When I heard the stories of these women, and when I saw their beautiful faces, I knew I had to do something.  For the cost of just a few lattes or mochas a month, you could change the lives of some amazing women who are so deserving of a chance at life and freedom.  Please take a few minutes out of your day to pray about joining me and the Mocha Club in our quest to restore hope and dignity to the least of these.  –Becca


Bring hope, restore dignity and change lives for $18 a month.

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Use the Promo Code: BECCA to receive a FREE SCARF made by the women in Ethiopia when you join.


FROM THE FIELD, Uncategorized, Women at Risk

Before and After : Ellilta Women at Risk

Ellilta Women at Risk has been working to rescue, counsel, and support women coming out of the sex industry looking for a new way life.  Ellilta restores the dignity of these women and strive to bring about freedom and restoration to people and places that are marginalized, abused, and neglected. For more than two decades, hundreds of women have gone through the program and many of them have begun to work at Women at Risk to help more women find healing and safety.

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Original staff

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Current staff

Here is a story from one of these women…

Helen grew up with her family in Nazreth (Adama town). When she was a grade seven student she started relationship with a boy from her classmate and after they stayed in relationship for a year she got pregnant and Helen was very happy when she knew about it because her dream was to spend the rest of her life with the man she fell in love with. Then Helen told everything for her boyfriend but he responds he had nothing to do with the pregnancy she don’t not expect this could happen to her because she trusted him so much so Helen decided not to tell anyone about her pregnancy not even for her parents because she knew they are not able to support the coming baby. Then Helen thought that the only way she can survive is to drop out of school and start working by her own to make money. As Helen was searching for a job a friend of her informed her there is available job in a hotel so Helen decided to start working the next day.

Starting From that day, Helen started working as prostitute at the age of 19 but she was not happy by her life that she was isolated both from her family and the society. After working in the sex work for seven years one night Helen meets with counsellors from Ellilta women At risk in the night visit and they talked to her to come to the program if she want to change her life. Then Helen was very excited and willing to join the program so she was registered to start the program. Then she was accepted in the rehabilitation program and during her stay in Ellilta she was a very cleaver woman that can be a role model for others in prostitution.

Currently, Helen is working as a chef in Ellilta women At risk also she got married and a mother of 4 child. Helen claim that her world view has totally changed because of the teachings she took from Ellilta. Helen also learned the meaning of love, hope and happiness from the staff and she is able to reflect what she learned for others. Helen wants to say God bless you and thank you for those who were supporting her while she was in the program.

Due to the sensitive material in this content, we have changed the name of the woman.

FROM THE FIELD, Women at Risk

Mary* is trying to break the cycle of prostitution

This update comes directly from our leaders at Ellilta Women at Risk in Ethiopia. Every time you give up a mocha, you change a life like Mary’s.

Mary* was born and raised in Adama town and she lived with her parents.

Her mother worked as a prostitute to fulfill the basic needs of the family but Mary was unhappy to see her mother in the sex work because she had the fear that she and her younger sister might end up doing the same thing if her mother stops the sex work.

When Mary turned 21, her parents decided to commit divorce and this was challenging for Mary that she could not agree with her step father so she decided to run away from home. By this time, Mary met up with some friends who were involved in prostitution and when she saw the amount of money they make per day she was tempted to start working with them. After a while Mary started working in a bar but she was not happy by what she is doing since she was subjected to violence and abuse from her clients.

After working as prostitute for seven years Mary finds out that she is pregnant from one of her clients but when she tell him about her pregnancy he deny he is the father of the child so she continue working the sex work until her third trimester of her pregnancy to save money for the coming baby.

After delivering a baby girl Mary turns to the sex work since she has no other option and one night as she was on her way to the hotel she meets with counselors from Ellilta Women at Risk and they talk to her and gave her the address to come if she want to change her life.

Mary was so happy to find a way out of prostitution. Thus she came to Ellilta the next day and she was accepted in the rehabilitation program.

Currently Mary is one of the active beneficiaries who is striving to rescue her younger sister from prostitution and be role model for others in the sex work.

We praise God for Mary’s success!!!
*We have changed Mary’s name to protect her journey.

FROM THE FIELD, Uncategorized, Women at Risk

Hopping a Plane to Ethiopia Post-Graduation

What gives you the confidence to say, “Yeah! I can do that!” Eric, a recent Belmont University grad, found that “umph” after his trip to Ellilta in Ethiopia a few weeks ago. With a degree in finance, he is helping Ellilta strengthen its business practices. Which means, he dabbled in dollars and cents, but also in Internet marketing to reach tourists looking for local souvenirs, using technology to share documents, and long-term strategic business planning aimed at, one day, growing Ellilta to other locations.

“I love working with Ellilta because I get to wear so many hats,” says Eric. “Plus, that positivity of women who have so little, but are so happy, is something I just want to be part of.”

As an added benefit, Eric’s trip, which was his second time to Ellilta, meant he connected with the staff on a personal level, way before ever diving into the business details. “I was greeted with open arms,” he says.

Stay tuned to our blog for more to come on Eric’s work with Ellilta, which continues now that he’s back in the States.