An Ethiopian shoe worn all over the world shows how you do sustainable manufacturing in Africa

For decades, the image of Ethiopia in the rest of the world’s imagination was one of poverty, a people entirely dependent on the aid from Western countries. Of course Ethiopia struggled under desperate real socio-economic issues, but that wasn’t all there was to the country, just like poverty isn’t all there is to poor people.

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu knew poverty but she also knew that it shouldn’t limit herself or the community she lived in. So when she completed university just as the country was finding its feet, she was determined to remain in Ethiopia and help her community stand up from poverty. She’s done just that, with shoes.

“Typically the people talking about poverty alleviation as the goal are not connected to the communities they are trying to ‘alleviate’ poverty in,” Alemu says. Read more...

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