About our work in Ethiopia
Addis Ababa has the largest shanti town on the African Continent. It is a vast wilderness of child abandonment and abuse. Probably no one really knows the full scope of the disaster. Abandoned Children’s Fund assisted in the construction of a beautiful orphanage north of Addis Ababa, which was designed in part to receive parentless children from throughout Ethiopia and give them a home. This report from our field director puts a human face on your resources:
To appreciate the happy ending of the story of the three little Ethiopian girls below, one must first understand the circumstances they were born into. And one must never, ever forget the millions left behind, besieged by poverty.
The dictionary defines poverty as such: “(n) the state of being poor; necessity; want; lack; deficiency.” Well if anything is sadly deficient, it’s this definition. It’s also more than having an empty stomach day in and day out. Poverty is so much more. It’s so much worse. Childhood poverty makes children vulnerable to exploitation, violence (physical and sexual), discrimination and being stigmatized. They barely survive let alone develop anywhere near their full potential. As parents they are not educated and some don’t even have their full mental faculties due to lack of nutrition in their own childhood. Worst of all, they perpetuate the cycle of poverty for generations to come.
13,000,000 children under the age of 14 live in abject poverty in Ethiopia (UNICEF). Girls as young as 11 are married off to bring in a dowry for the family, many flee their remote villages for the city where they end up in row upon row, street upon street of tin shacks. By night they stand outside their doors and wait for customers.
Bereket 5, Gifiti 6, and EyneAbeba 6, come from such beginnings. To see them today is a joy and blessing.
They are only 3 of a number of orphans brought to the orphanage. It took many days before Gifiti and Bereket spoke or ate. Gifiti arrived nameless, dumped by the government, her past only to be guessed at and was called ‘Gift’ by her care-givers. EyneAbeba (meaning flower) is HIV positive and often sick. All were thin, dirty, bedraggled and frightened. They wore sadness like a tight-fitting coat.
Today they are funny, playful, loving and affectionate. They go to school, have warm beds, food, clothes and adults who give them love and attention – to know them is to surely love them. CHILDHOOD POVERTY IS UNACCEPTABLE - thank you for making a difference in their lives, thank you for giving them life, thank you for giving them their childhood.