The Lydia Center is a ministry of the Illubabor Bethel Synod, Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, and is located in Metu at the synod compound. It is a Women’s Ministry program of the Development and Social Services Commission of IBS.

Lydia Handicraft Home was begun in 2002 and initially trained more than 24 young women. All women in the program now make handicrafts.  They can generate an income for themselves and the Women’s Work program.

Lydia Center Handicrafts Program

Lydia Center handicrafts are only one part in the women’s work. It belongs to our income generating program. At the same time as work is given to women so they can earn their own living, the Women’s Work program also receives a portion of what they earn.

Presently, 7 women work at the Center doing handwork. So when they sell some handiwork, we count the prize as follows: 30-35% goes to the woman who has made the work, about 30% goes toward the costs of the materials, and the rest – 25-30 % – will be income and support to Women’s Work.

A Director spends 3-4 half days a week with the Lydia Center women. The Lydia Center has a Bible study program for the women in the surrounding areas. It also has classes on sanitation and AIDS prevention. They address issues of traditional harmful practices such as female circumcision.

“The Lydia Centre is like a drop in the stream, but a drop is also important,” says Regina, former Director of the Lydia Center.

For more information, please contact Pat Burslem at or call (540)667-0172. 

Programs for women & girls:

  1. Bible Study for women in surrounding villages
  2. Classes on sanitation and AIDS prevention
  3. Education about harmful issues such as female circumcision
  4. Training women to provide literacy classes to children

Women’s Literacy Program:

  1. Active in more than 71 congregations
  2. 73 literacy teachers trained between 1997-2007
  3. 2,500 women involved in the program
  4. 14 literacy groups functioning within the synod

Young Girls Program:

  1. Started in 2007
  2. Active on eight congregations
  3. 350 girls between ages of 10-15 participating as of 2007
  4. Participating in anti-AIDS programs around synod

Income Generating Program:

  1. Making of textiles for congregational ministry
  2. Includes stoles, alter cloths, offering bags
  3. Table runners and bags
  4. Greeting cards
  5. Distributing vegetable seeds
  6. Distributing books