2014 Hermann Gmeiner Award Nominee: Seid Nurye

He has survived famine, drug addiction and life on the streets. Today, Seid Nurye, 38, from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, is a successful tailor and business owner. And because he believes the way he turned around his life can be an example for young people, he is committed to helping them rise above difficult circumstances by offering them training and employment.

Before he became a part of the SOS Children’s Village family in Addis Ababa in 1981, Seid survived the famine in Northern Ethiopia. He describes his time in the village as “golden days” and remembers the laughter, fun, picnics, and games he played with his friends.

Unfortunately, Seid made friends with the wrong crowd, dropped out of school and became addicted to drugs. Soon he found himself on the streets and resorted to pickpocketing to stay alive.

But Seid knew he could turn to SOS Children’s Villages for help when he decided to change for the better. He was given access to a training center where he learned how to be a tailor. After completing the course, he was given a small sewing machine, some material to get started and enough money to cover his rent for six months. He never looked back.

“I strongly believe that my greatest achievement is my commitment to quit those bad habits and change my life. I remain strong in my decision and have been working hard to bea better person,” Seid said.

Seid already has two tailor shops where he is currently employing 4 young people. He selects young people who have an interest to learn and develop themselves. It is his dream to expand in order to create many more job opportunities for youth.

“If these young people get the opportunity, they change not only their lives, but also those of their families and the community,” Seid said.

He is, after all, a living example of this.

“Seid is a symbol of courage, commitment and strength. Someone who was known for substance abuse and theft is no longer in the same place. Now, he is a person who contributes to the development of his community,” Abeba Tiume-Lissan, family based program advisor at SOS Children’s Villages Ethiopia, said.

>> See the other 2014 Hermann Gmeiner Award nominees