2018 Grant Recipient: Help One Now
for June 13, 2018
Help One Now is doing orphan prevention & family empowerment projects in partnership with the Kidmia Foundation in Gunchire, Ethiopia. These projects focus on education, health care, micro enterprise, and spiritual development in order to keep vulnerable children WITH their families.
Ethiopia, claimed by many as the birthplace of humanity, is Africa’s oldest independent nation. Never colonized by a European power, the culture and history of Ethiopia is rich and fascinating. The people of this great country in the Horn of Africa are beautiful, proud, and full of love.
Yet, as a nation, Ethiopia is only one generation removed from crippling drought, famine and a violent and oppressive Communist revolution. As in many parts of Africa, HIV/AIDS has taken it’s toll and over 50% of the population are under age of 18. There are 4.5 million orphans in Ethiopia; 31% of the population live on less that $1.25/day; and only 1 in 7 children participate in secondary school.
Gunchire, Ethiopia, a predominantly Muslim rural town a few hours southwest of Addis Ababa, is a harsh and difficult place to live. HIV/AIDS is prevalent. The exploitation of women and children, including sex and labor trafficking, is customary. The education system is poor, and unhealthy marriage practices — including older men with girls as young as 10, polygamy, rape, female circumcision, etc. — are commonplace.
We are partnering with a brilliant local leader, Aschalew Abebe, and the Kidmia Foundation — an organization committed to see orphaned children released from physical, economic, and spiritual poverty — to care for vulnerable children in the Gunchire community.
While Kidmia is championing indigenous orphan care and domestic adoption (Ethiopian families adopting Ethiopian orphans through the legal process), we are focusing on holistic community development to keep vulnerable kids WITH their families and help transform the community. Essentially, it’s orphan prevention! By addressing desperate social needs such as education, nutrition, health care, social awareness, leadership training, and economic development, we can ensure that families have a chance to stay together. They won’t have to make the impossible and unjust decision of which children they can afford to keep. And in time, as health and education permeate this younger generation, change and progress will come from within rather than without.
Under the local leadership that Kidmia has established, and with the help of the Help One Now vulnerable child sponsorship program, we believe that these families can break the cycle of extreme poverty.
We have gained over 400 sponsorships in the Gunchire community, and continue to prove the effectiveness of the orphan care and orphan prevention models working hand in hand in a community.
We hope to take what we learn and accomplish in Gunchire and apply it to other communities in Ethiopia and other countries as well.