Senior experts,officials vow to protect orphans and street children

Senior experts,officials vow to protect orphans and street children PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 28 June 2008

Adama, June 28 (WIC) – Senior experts and officials working in areas related to children vowed to protect orphans and street children from abuse.

While concluding a workshop organized to discuss on ways of protecting orphans yesterday, the senior experts and officials drawn from the federal government and nine states said they would firmly stand for the protection of orphans and street children.

Workshop participants Genet Tadesse and Meseret Mamo said they would fulfill their responsibilities by establishing care and support system to save those children from the harsh conditions.

They said an integrated system should be put in place to abolish the disorganized activities of governmental and non-governmental organizations operating in the sector.

Representatives of the Amhara and Oromia states presidents’ offices, Solomon Zewde and Fekadu Ayana,said on their part they would work in collaboration with the public and the pertinent bodies so as to prevent violence against children, child trafficking and ensure the rights of children.

Member of the Social Affairs Standing Committee of the House of People’s Representative, Legesse Negash, stated that active participation of the society, governmental and non-governmental organizations is vital to solve the problems of children.

More than 100 senior experts and officials drawn from the House of People’s Representatives, state councils, justice and social affairs ministries, state and federal HIV/AIDS offices, local and foreign NGOs took part in the five-day workshop.


Ethiopia: Renowned Athlete Motivates Street Children to Better Themselves

Ethiopia: Renowned Athlete Motivates Street Children to Better Themselves
The Daily Monitor (Addis Ababa)

2 May 2008
Posted to the web 2 May 2008

Menase Kifle
Addis Abeba

World renowned Ukrainian pole-vault record holder Sergey Bubka visited a rehabilitation centre for rebellious street children here in Addis Ababa in an effort to motivate the children to embrace sports as a means to better themselves.

Sergey Bubka who is also senior Vice President of the international Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) presented facility with indoor sports equipment such as board games and sports shoes provided by Nike to the children and discussed with them on various advantages of sports and how best to exploit it.

He said it was imperative that they try their utmost to best themselves in sports for a better and healthier living.

His visit was facilitated by Sport-The Bridge, a local foundation that takes care of children who have absconded from their homes to the streets.

Addisu Seifu, a volunteer at the foundation said the NGO tries within a one year period to rehabilitate them back into the society through sports and counselling.

Bubka, who is chairman of the youth Olympics in Singapore, expressed his pleasure in the work that sport-the bridge was doing and added that it was everyone’s responsibility to instill athleticism in children.

"These children have been through tough times and yet they still have such a remarkable spirit about them" Sergey spoke on the subject of athletics and said that it was a great pleasure for him to visit Ethiopia and that he was a fan of various legendry Ethiopian athletes such as Abebe Bekila , Haile Gebresillasie , and Kenenisa Bekele.

"Ethiopian Athletes have great talents and personality and are a great treasure of Ethiopia" Bubka commented on his aim for children saying "I want to continue to promote sport and Olympic movement because I sincerely believe that the problems we have in society and the world at large can be solved through the greater understanding that sport brings" In February Bubka won the coveted laureate lifetime achievement award in recognition of his contribution to grassroots sport and he is planning to visit a number of sports establishments over the course of the next year in a bid to encourage more young people to take up sports and to offer his support to sporting initiatives world wide.

Sergey Bubka is also a member at the Executive Board of the international Olympic Committee (IOC) and senior Vice President of the international Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). He came to Ethiopia in connection with the 16th African championships being held here in Addis.

Street Children in Ethiopia – Hope Enterprises

Street Children in Ethiopia – Hope Enterprises
Added: February 01, 2008
We speak with children living on the streets of Addis Ababa, the capitol of Ethiopia. To better understand their situation, we meet with the Director of HOPE Enterprises, a group working to help the children survive and make it to college. To help HOPE, visit

This video originally uploaded by:

Street Children in Ethiopia – Addis Hiwot

Street Children in Ethiopia – Addis Hiwot
Homeless children & teen in Ethiopia. Addis Hiwot or New Life transforms the life of street children & youth to become productive citizens of Ethiopia. Join the fight against homelessness in Ethiopia. Visit and contribute.

New Life Teen Challenge Development Program runs 2 rehabilitation centers one for girls and the other for boys including one feeding center where both male and female street children/youth get lunch and counseling services. Both centers have boy and girls attending educational and vocational trainings.

The project site is mainly in 3 sub cities of Addis Ababa region where street life is more prevalent and large population of street people is found. This includes the five towns, Merkato, Piazza, Kazanchiz, Arat Kilo and Stadium.

Originally uploaded by:

Charity fundraisers endure both heat and cold in mountain climb

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Dave Mann and Dee Hawke at the summit of Ras Dashen. ns

Fundraisers for a Warwick charity endured freezing temperatures and blistering heat in a charity trek in Ethiopia.
Dave Mann and Dee Hawke hiked through the Simien mountains to the 15,000ft summit of the country’s highest peak Ras Dashen in November in aid of Retrak, a charity which helps street children in East Africa.

The mountain is half the height of Everest and the pair, who raised more than £6,500, said the challenge was the toughest thing they had ever done, with lack of oxygen testing every walker’s endurance.

For Mrs Hawke, of Tachbrook Road, it was the second mountain she had ever climbed – the first being a trip up Snowdon in November.

She decided to go only seven weeks before the trek began and raised £5,000 before she left.

The usher, who works at courts in Warwick and Coventry, said: “I wasn’t too sure but it turned out to be the most amazing thing I have done in my life.

“It was 100 degrees during the day with no shade and minus ten during the night. The glass in one person’s watch popped out the conditions were so extreme. But it was amazing how we gelled together as a team.”

Mr Mann, of Charles Street, Warwick is the charity’s fundraising co-ordinator but had never walked at altitude. He said: “The terrain was breathtaking but rugged. None of us had trekked at that altitude before and some suffered from intense headaches. Breathing was difficult, so every step took great effort.”

The rewards for their effort included views across the mountain range and sightings of Gelada baboons as well as ibex and other exotic birds.

And on their return from the trek the party visited Retrak’s project in Addis Abbaba, where street children are given the chance to go to school, be reunited with their families or find homes with a foster family. The team spent time talking to some of the children who are benefiting from the charity’s work and ended the day with a football match against the youngsters.

Mrs Hawke added: “It was fantastic to see how the money raised from our efforts during the trek will be used to help street children in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya to begin a new life away from the danger and horror of life on the streets.”

The trek was organised by Mrs Hawke’s daughter Karla Hawke. Its 14 members raised more than £60,000.

Karla was really proud of her mother’s achievement both in climbing the mountain, and raising such a large amount of money in less than seven weeks.

She said: “Retrak is really grateful to people like Dave and Dee who took part. Anyone interested in future challenges should visit our website for more information.”

Genet’s story: A life on the streets

Violence and sexual abuse within the home are among the main reasons children run away to live on the streets, according to a report, the State of the World’s Street Children, published by a coalition of charities.

In Ethiopia, an estimated 150,000 children live on the streets. The story of Genet, now living in a safehouse in Addis Ababa, is similar to those of many such children, especially girls.

A girl in a safehouse in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo: David Levene/EveryChild

Photo: David Levene/EveryChild

No images of Genet are included to protect her identity.

My troubles began when I was 14 years old and my mother became too ill to care for my younger sister and me.

We were sent to live with a family as their domestic labourers.

We were both subject to frequent beatings and were not allowed to go to school.

A year later we were taken by our grandmother to live with a distant male relative elsewhere in Addis.

We were told our mother had died and this would now be our home.

It had been horrible with the family we had been living with before and I hoped the new family would be kinder to us now that our mother was gone.

I find it very difficult to talk about my time on the streets of Addis. I survived there as best I could for over two months.

But I was forced to go to bed with the male relative who we had been sent to live with and a woman in the household frequently beat us both.

I was pretty sure that the man was also sexually abusing my 11-year-old sister too. After two months I ran away but my younger sister was too frightened to come with me.

I ended up in the house of a family friend who took me in but they demanded that I pay my way by working as their domestic servant.

After being beaten and verbally abused, I decided to take my chances on the streets.

I find it very difficult to talk about my time on the streets of Addis. I survived there as best I could for over two months. I was often very hungry.

Photo: David Levene/EveryChild

The refuge provides a safe space.
Photo: David Levene/EveryChildd

Other girls I met living and working on the street told me about the Drop-in Centre for street children operated by the Forum for Street Children.

It took a lot of courage to go there for help as I found it very difficult to trust adults.

But when I told the community workers there what had happened to me they immediately gave me a place in their safe home for girls.

I am now 16, I have started school again and I am being trained at a local health centre as a janitor so I will be able to support myself when the time comes to leave the safe home.

I am desperate to see my sister again. They tell me she has managed to escape from the abusive household we were in and is now living with our grandmother in her home village.

When I grow older I want to help other children in the same situation as me.

A glimmer of hope in Ethiopia

A glimmer of hope in Ethiopia

There are twice as many Ethiopians hungry today as there were during the 1984 famine when one million people starved.

This uneasy truth means that, every year, up to eight million people, twice the population of Ireland, are starving or die of hunger. Ever since I saw the BBC’s Michael Buerk’s report on the famine and heard Bob Geldof and GOAL’s John O’Shea shouting at the tops of their voices for the international community to wake up to the catastrophe there, I have wanted to work in Africa, especially in Ethiopia. Now, over 20 years later, having now spent many years working for GOAL both at home and in the developing world, I recently got the chance to visit Ethiopia for a second time for work and personal reasons.

The facts of life are depressing in Ethiopia:

Ethiopia receives the most relief aid but the least development aid in the world.

More than 80,000 children die from malaria each year. Untreated mosquito nets cost just €2 and treated mosquito nets cost only €5.

Average life expectancy is 44 years, infant mortality is at 20 per cent and unemployment rests around 80 per cent.

Most of the 75 million people who live in Ethiopia survive on less than 50 cents a day.

There are over seven million orphans and close to half a million street children – witnessing this is enough to make you weep.

Ethiopia is Africa’s oldest independent country and, with the exception of a five-year occupation by Mussolini’s Italy, avoided colonisation. Best known for its droughts, famines and conflict, Ethiopia is surprisingly mountainous and lush. Known as the ceiling of Africa, two-thirds of the country sits on a plateau between 6,000 and 10,000 feet above sea level. Throughout history this rugged terrain shielded Ethiopia from outside influence. Amharic is Ethiopia’s official language, but roughly 70 different other languages and 200 dialects are spoken. The country has its own alphabet, one of only 13 in the world, and its own calendar – this year (1999 in their calendar) they will celebrate the millennium.

GOAL has worked in Ethiopia since 1983 and was well placed to respond to the imploding crisis in the early period. GOAL medical teams worked seven days a week for months on end in very difficult and harrowing conditions on the frontline of the disaster to keep thousands of starving adults and children alive. A massive vaccination programmes for vulnerable communities was implemented and 20,000 families and hundreds of children were fed on a daily basis. Since then GOAL has been helping communities recover their livelihoods after drought and implementing emergency, rehabilitation and development programmes. In an average year, five to six million people seek food aid in poverty-stricken Ethiopia. Our Rapid Response team of experienced GOALies covers large parts of the country with nutrition and health assessments and interventions, to pre-empt hunger hot spots and redress the problem before it escalates into famine. GOAL operates programmes for street children in two of the poorest districts of Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa, providing drop-in centres, healthcare facilities, HIV/AIDS support, meals, counselling, education, sport, washing facilities, recreation activities and beds for over 200 homeless children. GOAL’s child protection programme in Nazareth town offers practical support to poor children and their families. Addis Ababa’s slum dwellings create serious health problems. I saw raw sewage at some of the settlements we visited, most upsettingly at the open spaces where children play – it is often they who are worst affected. Thousands of these children have no homes, no food, no shoes, no clothes and no protection. In order to survive they turn to begging, stealing, prostitution and drug dealing and find themselves condemned as outlaws and socially untouchable.

To live without hope is the most crushing of burdens. At many of the places I visited I saw children with faces that told me they hold no hope for the future. I was reminded of the words of the American writer James Agee, who said: “In every child who is born, under no matter what circumstances, the potentiality of the human race is born again, and in them too, once more and in each of us, is born again our terrific responsibility towards human life.” Street children have haunted Addis Ababa for decades. Like ghosts they drift through the crowds, eyes glazed from the solvents and drugs they abuse, grimy hands poised to beg or steal. Ignored, pitied and feared they have become part of the city’s decaying infrastructure – like the policemen they bribe and the streets they sleep on, they are the poorest of the poor.

HIV/AIDS is another reason that children end up on the streets. As parents die and relatives prove either unable or unwilling to provide care children are left to fend for themselves. Some street children are involved in high levels of sexual activity and, as the young girls rescued by GOAL told us, many are raped and abused at the hands of older street children and men putting them at risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. These children are children only in name. They became adults long before their time, their childhoods stolen from them. In the past decade – the period of greatest wealth creation in Irish history, and the world for that matter – it is now clear that the rich have gained while the poor have only lost.

GOAL tries to give back to these children something of what they have lost. Through the community centre and school for street children, they receive an education, vocational training and job placements. The simplest gift they receive is the opportunity to play. Older children are given the skills needed to set up a small business and GOAL operates a HIV/AIDS programme that provides counselling and health education through drama and peer education. Although I saw much tragedy, sadness and suffering on my trip to Ethiopia, I also met some truly beautiful people – all of them friendly and welcoming. I came away feeling richly blessed to have met them and as though it was me who had been helped, not them.

My thoughts go back to the beautiful young children, cared for by GOAL and many others. I just wonder how many of them might still be there when I visit next. We still have such a long way to go before we come even close to providing children around the world with their most basic rights and needs – freedom from work and hardship, famine, neglect and abuse. In the meantime it is salutary to remember that most of these children do survive. They may be uncomfortable reminders of our malfunctioning society but they nonetheless bear witness to the endurance of the human spirit.

If the international community just learns to listen to the people of Ethiopia, and those who advocate on their behalf, then the most important step will have been taken. For many of these people, and for countless others across sub-Saharan Africa in places like Niger, Uganda, Darfur and Chad, tomorrow will be too late. The work done in Ethiopia and in the 11 other developing world countries in which GOAL currently operates in could not continue without the support of the Irish. We are truly grateful for your generosity and support, not just over the past year but throughout GOAL’s 30 years of existence. Alternatively, if you have a relevant skill and would consider giving at least a year of your life to the service of the poorest of the poor, why not becom
e a GOAL volunteer? For details contact GOAL’s personnel department on 01 280 9779, or see for details of current vacancies and how to become a GOALie.

The Claremorris GOAL Golf Classic takes place at Claremorris Golf Club on Thursday April 12. Tee off times are available by phoning Claremorris Golf Club on 094 937 1527. The entry fee for a team of four is €180. Book early and support GOAL.

Underground children

BBC NEWS | In pictures | Underground children | In hiding

Gallery of street children in Addis Ababa.

In hiding
Blink and you will miss the underground children in Ethiopia’s capital city.

They live in tunnels, sewers and drainage holes, hidden beneath Addis Ababa’s teeming streets.

They move from one makeshift shelter to the next, chased away by police or the rivers of water and refuse that flow when the rains come.

Growing up amidst the traffic, they learn to hustle at a young age seeking change or selling small items to drivers at traffic lights.

Across from the main post office, there is a sewage drain. It draws little attention.

Thousands of people walk across its steel bars every day without giving it a second thought. This is good for Mohammed and his friends. They do not want their home to be discovered.

The space is not more than half a metre high, and though it is five or six metres long, only one small portion is covered and unexposed.

When it rains, the boys huddle together among the rubbish and

Encountering the street kids who live underground is not easy, but once we talked to a few, dozens appeared.

As we walked in the shadow of the city’s main buildings, the children emerged from dark side streets and from nowhere at all.

Soon we were surrounded by boys.

For the children who have found shelter, however destitute and impermanent, the difficulties truly begin when they come up from underground and face the realities of their daily life.

They must hustle for food scraps, avoid police, and beware exploitation and abuse.

Many children perform odd jobs for restaurants and caf├ęs to get bread and leftovers. Sometimes shelters will give out food, and there are soup kitchens that serve cheap meals.

There are fewer girls but they are there. Hana, a 15 year-old, comes from Ziway, a town south of Addis.

She left home and came to Addis after an incident in which she accidentally lost her family’s cattle and feared her father’s rage. She hopes to return one day.

"Here you don’t have much to worry about," she said.

"If you get something to eat, that is good. When you don’t have any, you pass the time either sleeping or chatting with friends."

When they do have money, from begging or doing odd jobs, Hana and her friends often go to the cinema.

One of the girls described her attitude to sex.

She said that to be safe from both pregnancy and HIV/Aids she always uses a condom. She claimed she did not face serious dangers in this regard, and said no-one had ever forced her to have sex.

Henok Tesfaye came to the streets when he was 11 years old after losing his parents in a car accident. Ten years on, he is used to life on the streets.

He lives beneath a main road in an unused hole dug for telephone cables. The roof is made of concrete blocks placed side by side across a small opening.

To keep rain out, Henok and his roommate spread plastic sheets underneath old windscreens.

A small hole is both the door and the window to their tiny home.

Among the reasons for the high numbers of street children in Addis Ababa are extreme poverty, hunger, violent conflict and drought in rural areas.

Often, the children come without families, orphaned by disease, escaping abusive and neglectful parents, captivated by tales of wealth and opportunity in the big city.

An exact number is too difficult to pin down accurately, but various estimates put the total number of street kids in Ethiopia between 60,000 and 150,000.

As we were talking to Dawit, 12, he eyed a rubber wristband and we gave it him, but the next day it had gone.

“It was stolen last night,” he said, crestfallen. “When I was sleeping, someone grabbed my neck and started choking me. They said: ‘Give it to me or I’ll take your life.’ So I gave it them.”

He shrugged his shoulders and walked off with a friend down the busy street – unnoticed.

Text and pictures: Will Connor and Mesay Berhanu


Town Administration, UNICEF Rehabilitating Street Children Ethiopia: Town Administration, UNICEF Rehabilitating Street Children

The Ethiopian Herald (Addis Ababa)

July 24, 2006
Posted to the web July 24, 2006


The Office of Labour and Social Affairs Office with the Shashemene town administration in Oromia State said that it has been providing support for 442 street children and orphans in cooperation with UNICEF.

Speaking at a relevant consultative meeting organized in Shashemene town, Office Head, Getahun Zewde said that the street children and orphans got access to education with 372,000 birr provided by UNICEF.

The street children and orphans are being provided with educational materials, clothing and other assistances, he added.

Moreover, the office has constructed 79 residential units for 437 homeless families, he said. It has also offered vocational training to 52 youths, the head said.

Town deputy mayor, Feyisa Regasa said on his part that number of street children has been increasing in the town due to escalating social problems.

He urged the public and governmental as well as non-governmental organizations operating in the town to play their due role in the effort to rehabilitate close to 6,000, orphans and street children."