• 'Steady increase in street children orphaned by AIDS'
    By Indrias Getachew

    UNICEF Newsline, 24 January 2006.

    Orphan Population
    Ethiopia counts one of the largest populations of orphans in the world: 13 percent of children throughout the country are missing one or both parents. This represents an estimated 4.6 million children – 800,000 of whom were orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The country has seen a steady increase in the number of children becoming orphaned because of AIDS. In the past, famine, conflict and other diseases were the main factors that claimed the lives of parents. Street children are continuously exposed to various forms of exploitation, including sexual exploitation. They do not have access to basic rights such as access to proper care, education, psychological support and supervision. Many street children don’t have access to basic rights such as proper care, education, psychological support and supervision. Often, orphans and other vulnerable children are forced to work to earn an income. They are exposed to various forms of exploitation, including sexual exploitation.

    Child Abuse
    In Addis Ababa more than 30 percent of girls aged 10-14 are not living with their parents. Twenty percent of these 30 percent have run away from child marriages. Twelve percent of adolescents aged 10-14 – of the 30 percent not living with their parents – surveyed in two areas of Addis Ababa were domestic workers. They are very young, very vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, and typically have no legal or social support. In the Amhara region, the average age of marriage for girls is 14, while at the national level the mean age for marriage is 17. There are about 2.5 million children with disabilities.

    Totally Abandoned
    Very few government services help orphans. The primary coping strategy for communities has therefore been the extended family. Increasingly, however, the capacity of the extended family to support the growing numbers of orphans is declining. ‘As more and more parents die, the capacity of the extended family to take care of orphans becomes smaller and smaller,’ says Björn Ljungqvist, UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia. ‘In all countries where you have a big HIV/AIDS epidemic, at first you don’t see any orphans at all, as they are absorbed by the traditional systems. And then all of a sudden you seem to reach some type of breaking point and you start finding these children in the streets, you start finding them working in difficult conditions, you start finding even child-headed households.’

    HFCE’s Remarkable Children
    HFCE has responded to this situation over many years. HFCE took up to 100 children into Group Homes and in special cases, supported some child-headed households in their struggle to survive. With extra help from HFCE, relatives and neighbours, family units could remain together. The outcomes for these child headed households has been nothing short of remarkable, at least two have completed law degrees. One of the law graduates was blind and became a mother following a rape, the other was left alone at 12 years old to care for an 18 month old sick brother and three year old sister. Their incredible accounts of resilience and achievement will be shared in the tab labelled Stories in the coming months.
  • Partnership with Hope For Children Ethiopia
    Hope For Children Ethiopia (HFCE) is a local Ethiopian NGO that was established in November 2000 in response to the staggering AIDS pandemic and its related problems. The organisation provides community-based care and support to the growing number of rejected children and disintegrating family structures caused by HIV/AIDS. Their vision is to enable HIV/AIDS affected children and families to live with dignity in their local communities while ensuring that their basic needs are met.

    To achieve this vision, HFCE provides essential services to children who have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS and caregivers who are located in Addis Ababa and Babile. They now care and support children and sponsor them for the provision of school uniforms and stationary relevant for their education.

    HFCE also works to promote community knowledge and support for HIV-affected and infected children and caregivers. The organisation’s services include providing education, food, clothing, shelter, and basic medical assistance to those living with HIV/AIDS, as well as advocacy on behalf of AIDS patients and psychological support.

    HFCE also provide home based care, grief counselling, HIV/AIDS counselling, peer education, vocational training for older AIDS orphans and their caregivers so that they may be self-sufficient and a range of other educational programs.

    HFCE's founder Yewoinshet Masresha, has been instrumental in changing the way children are nurtured worldwide. UNICEF has invited her to speak at several conferences to share her vision of orphaned children being loved in a supported family unit, rather than being left on the street or housed in a soulless, orphanage dormitory.

    The generation of HFCE graduates includes in its ranks engineers, doctors, health officers, nurses, pharmacists, midwives, teachers, lawyers, hairdressers, chefs, drivers, sociologists, anthropologists, sports masters, carpenters, singers, dancers, decorators and aid workers.


    Partnership with Global Development Group
    Direct Reach Ethiopia Limited is a proud a partner for Project J750 Direct Reach Ethiopia with Global Development Group (ABN 57 102 400 993), an Australian AusAID approved Non Government Organisation carrying out quality humanitarian projects with approved partners and providing aid to relieve poverty and provide long term solutions.
    Global Development Group takes responsibility of the project according to AusAID rules providing a governance role and assisting in the areas of planning, monitoring, evaluating and auditing to ensure the projects are carried out to AusAID requirements.
    Tax deductible receipts for gifts over $2 with a preference for this approved aid and development project will be issued by Global Development Group for project J750N. If projects are overfunded, funds may be directed towards other approved project activities. Please note that no non-development (evangelistic, political or welfare) activities are funded by any of these projects. For more information click here.


    Global Development Group is a member of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and a signatory to the ACFID Code of Conduct, which provides standards on management, communication with the public and, most importantly, how funds are spent.

    • Sara Franklyn (LLB, B.Juris)


      Sara has worked as a volunteer helping HFCOE for 11 years and DRE, since it was founded in 2013. Sara has visited Ethiopia on twelve occasions.
      Formerly a litigation lawyer specialising in medical negligence and personal injuries, Sara first became aware of HFCOE as a sponsor of four Ethiopian children in 2001. Sara has developed a deep respect for her Ethiopian counterparts and has been a stable and long term supporter of HFCOE, carrying through with the establishment of DRE in Australia.
    • Roger Harvey (BCom, CA, FTIA)

      Roger Harvey was formerly a Senior Manager with Grant Thornton Australia, a member of Grant Thornton International, one of the largest accounting and consulting firms providing assurance, tax and specialist advice through firms in over 100 countries. Mr Harvey specialises in assisting Privately Held Businesses and has experience in assisting in company secretarial procedures for private companies. He has over 22 years experience in the accounting profession including 4 years with PriceWaterhouse Coopers, has been a Fellow of the Taxation Institute of Australia for 13 years and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants for 15 years. Roger has also volunteered his expertise to multiple school and sporting associations around Perth.
    • Damira Banaszak (BA, LLB, B.Juris)

      Damira has extensive commercial experience gained over 25 years in both private practice and in-house corporate roles, including board experience. Her expertise has been gained across a broad spectrum of commercial fields with senior roles in banking and finance and significant exposure to both the mining and property industries. She has a number of years of company board experience, most recently as a director of an IPO that listed on the ASX and as a director of the WA Rugby League. In addition she has served on many charitable and sporting boards and committees, including as a member of Rotary for a number of years. In private practice Damira acted for a diverse range of clients and advised on, drafted and negotiated agreements, and resolved disputes relating to a wide range of matters. In her most recent role as senior legal counsel of a major bank, she gained experience across a diverse number of industries and was actively involved in negotiating and advising on contracts, disputes, recoveries, risk management, legislative and regulatory obligations. Damira now runs her own legal practice specialising in banking and finance, wills and estate planning, and general commercial matters.
    • Mary Ellen Cliff (DipTch)

      formerly a teacher and small-business owner, has a special interest in assisting underprivileged youth. Mary Ellen has worked for lengthy periods in remote Aboriginal communities and helped establish the Midnight Basketball program for at-risk and alienated youth in Perth. She also volunteers on the Lake Claremont Committee and has assisted in co-ordinating the re-vegetation of 36,000 trees on an old golf course around the lake. Mary Ellen has been a long-term donor to HFCE.
    • Company Secretary - Sharon Goddard (MBA)

      Ms Goddard joined the Board of DRE in 2015 as Company Secretary. Sharon has been the General Manager of Corporate for Gold Road Resources since 2011 and has more than 20 years of experience in mining, agribusiness and legal. At Gold Road, Ms Goddard's primary responsibilities are managing all aspects of the organisation including human resources, legal and financial management, IT and day-to-day operations including integrating and management of all services and systems. Sharon is also responsible for native title negotiations, contract management and marketing.
      Previously Ms Goddard held senior position as Practice Manager for a newly merged Perth law firm Middletons and was instrumental in the fit-out and set-up of the new merged office including implementation of an IT solution, financial and human resources functions and risk and compliance. Sharon has also worked for Wesfarmers as an Executive Assistant to the Finance Director and assisted with all investor relations briefings including Annual and Half Yearly Results and presentation, as well as preparation of national roadshows to analysts, fund managers and shareholders.
      Ms Goddard holds a Masters of Business Administration, is a graudate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has a Diploma in Financial Markets at Financial Services Institute of Australia.
  • Australian Support

    DRE has a Board based in Perth and the Australia-wide backing of the long-term HFCE support base. DRE also has the support of the local Ethiopian communities in Perth and Melbourne.
    Many of the supporters have either lived in, or visited Ethiopia, and have experienced the HFCE programs first-hand. It is an extremely rewarding experience that DRE is keen to share. To find out more contact us.


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