Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in Africa. Although it is big in size and rich in natural resources, its potential is untapped. The country suffers from recurrent drought and has had a civil war for more than 30 years and most recently a border war with its neighbour Eritrea. The war consequently displaced many people from areas where they lived for a long time and rural people were forced to migrate to cities with the hope to get work.
Hungry and displaced people from the rural side of Gojam and other adjacent regions came to Bahir Dar, the administrative centre of the Amhara National Regional State. As a result the population of Bahir Dar has been growing more than ever, creating urban poor with no means of survival.
The Ethiopian Catholic Church as part of its mission of Integral Human Development has been concerned with the plight of the urban poor. In particular in recent years the church has shown concern to the development of poor women by establishing a centre where women can be trained in different skills so that they can find a job and become self-sufficient.
Emphasis is given by the centers on girls and young mothers and the training focused on a variety of traditional handicrafts, like sewing, embroidery, knitting, and local food preparation, home economics and typing and computer skills. The main objective is to assist the women to support themselves and their families.
There are many such centers in the country. One of these is the Women in Development Training Centre established by the Eritrean Sisters in 1991 and now run by the Daughters of Charity in Bahir Dar. After the Eritrean Sisters left Ethiopia due to the recent war, it was taken over by the Daughters of Charity from the Province of Ethiopia in December 1998.