Ethiopia: helping orphans make their own way
By Amerti Lemma, Save the Children Ethiopia
Having a good idea without the means to make it a reality is a frustrating situation for any young person – particularly one who needs to earn a living. And when that young person also lacks the support of immediate family – their inspiration, support and love – the situation is harder still.
The five teenagers I met on the morning of October 18, 2013 have dreams: to be nurses or businesswomen, teachers or pilots. They told me this with a big smile on their faces.
They all live in Alafa woreda (district) of the Amhara region of Ethiopia. They have lost either one or both of their parents and are currently trying to get by with the support they receive from Save the Children’s Child Protection programme, Children without Appropriate Care/ Orphan and Vulnerable Children (CWAC/OVC).
In June of last year, the ten children in the OVC association received 17,000 birr (so, 1,700 birr, which is approximately £56, each). Some of the children used this money to start rearing sheep while others have small kiosks where they sell either cosmetics or food items. Others have used the cash to support their care-givers to open a small diner in their homes.
Speaking with these young people, I realised the need to invest in their passions. Although they’re only teenagers, they are eager to learn new skills, that they can develop into an income-generating business.
These kids are not only passionate about changing their own lives but are keen to have a positive impact on children like themselves with no parental support. They’re also great advocates and excellent role models in the community – inspiring others by their dedication in the face of hardship.
This is why I’m inspired each time I go to the field and see the positive results of Save the Children’s investment in these children’s future.