SPRING 2021 GRANT ROUND 1st RECIPIENT: Selamta Family Project
for May 28th, 2021
We are excited to announce our 1st Spring 2021 Grant Round Recipient!
Thanks to our generous donor community, Selamta Family Project is receiving a $25,000 grant towards their Forever Family Project Initiative!
Selamta Family Project will use this grant to provide the educational, psychosocial, medical, spiritual, and material resources necessary for 20 children to leave government orphanages and join Selamta’s Forever Family Program by August 2021.
The Need: USAID estimates over 5 million children in Ethiopia have lost one or both parents, predicts that over 10,000 of these children live on the streets of Addis Ababa, and over 8,000 live in institutions. Many of these institutions have poor living conditions and children suffer from malnutrition and neglect and are at a higher risk for maltreatment such as abuse and child labor (NCBI). In addition, children in institutions and on the street experience gaps in their schooling making it very difficult for them to access the education and training necessary to acquire a living wage job. This leads to a higher risk of homelessness, suicide, prostitution, and incarceration among children aging out of institutions.
The Solution: Selamta Family Project was established in 2006 and unites 8-10 children from orphanages, the street, and other unsafe situations into a healthy family structure with a trained mom in their own home. The family is fully integrated into the local community and they grow up together over a 10-20 year period before launching from their family home into independence.
Selamta’s Forever Family Program is built on a holistic approach that supports youth with wrap-around support in four cornerstone areas: Education, Health & Wellness, Psychosocial Support, and Spiritual Development. This care continues indefinitely, as children do not age out of Selamta at 18, but continue to be a part of their family as they complete their secondary and tertiary education. Once they have started a living-wage job, Forever Family members shift into Selamta’s pre-launch program, where they live independently, but continue to receive support, until they are fully independent. Even after achieving independence, Selamta’s children always have a family to come back to and a network of support through Selamta’s Community Center.
The Impact: A study conducted by the Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP) found that children who were brought out of institutions and into families at a young age made significant gains in both their cognitive and emotional development. The Selamta model cultivates lifelong families for children who have lost everything, families that function as biological families, and remain a lifelong support even when children grow up and start independent lives and families of their own.
Selamta’s holistic approach has enabled 175 children to know the love of a family through their Forever Family and Outreach programs. They have seen 39 children launch into independence and have story after story of resilience and hope. Yemima* came into Selamta when she was 7 after losing her parents. She began to excel in school and was recognized by Glamour Magazine and She’s the First as their Girl of the Year. She recently received a full ride to an Ivy league school and aims to earn a biology degree so she can start a much needed clinic in her birth city in Ethiopia. In her university application, she states,
“My life has not been easy, but Selamta has taught me that I can grow from challenges and that education is the path to changing my future. I am a dedicated student, a model leader, and an active, diligent community member. To become a health professional and return to Ethiopia is my only goal.”
Through Legacy Collective’s support, Selamta desires to support new children to realize their potential, just like Yemima, by providing them a Forever Family. Their goal is to provide children who have experienced trauma, with holistic, wrap-around care and the support necessary for them to heal and thrive. They desire to instill in their children the hope that they can achieve their dreams and a sense of responsibility to care for others in their community, country, and world.
The Outcomes: Selamta Family Project desires that each new child entering Selamta will:
- Understand that they have inherent dignity and worth
- Make gains in their education to overcome gaps in schooling through educational support
- Heal from past trauma through psychosocial support and loving families
- Feel like a valued and loved member of a family
- Discover their unique interests and abilities and establish goals for their future
- Become a contributing member of society, giving back to their community, country and world