The local schools are poorly resourced and the students need English classes to be able to study in upper school. The Youth centres are effectively an afterschool study club. Access to computers allows the children to be vocationally ready for many jobs and greatly enhances the learning materials available. The centres also provide a learning/activity centre for orphans and vulnerable children on a Saturday morning. For children without families, this opportunity is well attended and much appreciated. These centres will be used by more than 100 children each.
The youth centres in Addis Ababa and Barbile both have buildings but very little in the way of educational teaching resources. They both need to purchase books for a school reference library; fiction books; English speaking DVD's; computers; software and antivirus packages, broadband, English, computing, craft and dancing teachers, craft equipment, stationary, sporting equipment, gardening tools and seeds for the edible garden classes.
Older students assist younger students with their studies. Youth Centre teachers provide the children with individual attention that they struggle to get in school classes of up to 100 students. The Youth Centre environment provides the sponsored and group home children with a study environment, lacking in their homes, where desks and power are not always available.
Preserving an ancient and proud culture, is central to the Ethiopian education enrichment provided by the HFCE Youth Centres. Traditional dancing has been used a means of entertainment and education for many years. It is a celebration of life that children of all ages share in.
The traditional dancing group has seen success in Ethiopian Idol and danced before heads of state. The skills learnt at the Youth Centre have provided career paths for many of its graduates who now dance professionally.
A Real Home
Instead of being housed in an orphanage dormitory, our group home children live in a family with a foster mother. Prior to the wider community bringing them to HFCE, the group home children counted among the 5 million homeless children in Ethiopia. In the group homes they are nurtured, educated, and given the opportunity to thrive. Children have come from the Hamlin Fistula Clinic, Medecins Sans Frontieres, church steps and abandoned by the roadside.
Our group home children perform well at school and as they graduate, have achieved at a high level at university and in the workplace.
Funds are needed for house rent, medical expenses, food, household expenses, wages, educational equipment, clothes and bus fares for school transport.
The warmth and sense of belonging for the group home children is evident in their demeanour and the exemplary behaviour in welcoming and hosting guests. The high functionality of the 'family' arrangement in the home and the strong spoken English skills of the older children are perhaps also attributable to the group home children’s high attendance rates at the Youth Centres and participation in the Saturday program.
The Community Mobilisation and Facilitation Project “CMFP” has many facets and various community groups involved. The CMFP employs a full time in-house lawyer at Hope For Children Ethiopia, who works for a remuneration that reflects the charitable status of HFCE. Rahel Birhanu has been with HFCE for many years and has proved to be an extremely effective and valuable employee. Rahel and her team, endeavour to protect and educate the children and the wider community. Perpetrators of child abuse have been successfully prosecuted and the wider community is engaged to help protect the most vulnerable children As part of this program, churches, communities and schools are educated and mobilised to establish a more nurturing environment for children. A Girls Club, where they are informed of their legal rights in regard to sexual predation and assault, is operated. Prior to Rahel’s involvement, orphans would have their meagre possessions occupied or seized by opportunistic adults and be powerless to stop them. They were also at risk of being physically abused or enslaved. The children's guardianship orders and wills are stored in wooden Memory Boxes, securing what little assets the parent’s could bequest to the children.
DRE is currently seeking funding to recommence this program
Teaching Families How to Live With HIV
In an environment where hospital care is not often an option for people suffering from HIV, HFCE trained caregivers make visits to assist with bathing, feeding, wound care, hospitalization, massaging and caring for the patient while helping out with domestic chores. The caregivers spend time with the patient giving them vital human contact and comfort when they have been alienated by their community.
Counselling and HIV education is provided for both the patient and their family. The nurse counsellor makes home visits and teaches the family and friends how to care for an HIV person without risking transmission of the virus.
HFCE also ensures sufferers have basic medicines, gloves, sheets, blankets and mattresses.
Ensuring Access to ART
The carers also facilitate antiretroviral therapy (ART) and ensure that the patients are included in the free government hospital drug access plans. HFC has 42 home based caregivers working in the community.
Sponsorship is the centrepiece of the HFCE projects as it brings the individual sponsors into the lives of the children. It also brings the struggling families to HFCE, which enables the adults to access all of the other HFCE programs, such as community savings, entrepreneur training and various other educational programs. The sponsored children are expected to regularly attend school and the study club at the Youth Centre. The monitors check on school reports and any other school or social issues that may arise.
Children are sponsored from overseas through a yearly payment. This money is then given to the child’s caregiver on a weekly basis. HFCE staff monitor the family and regularly speak to neighbours to ensure the money is spent for the benefit of the sponsored child. The sponsorship amount is designed to cover the cost of providing school materials, school fees, food, shelter, some medical assistance and clothing, to the sponsored child.
Most sponsorships conclude when the child has graduated from a vocational or academic course. Access to higher-level education would be simply unattainable without HFCE intervention. Many return to HFCE to share their knowledge with the younger children, or to complete the circle by volunteering around the office.
Non-Government School Funding
HFCOE has observed over the past 13 years that the children fortunate enough to attend non-government schools at a cost of around $300AUD p.a., have had far superior educational outcomes. Benefits include class sizes of under 40 students; english tuition; motivated students and better teachers.
Many of the sponsored children who have previously benefited from non-government schooling went on to win university scholarships in engineering, medicine and law.
DRE has endeavoured to fundraise to send as many as possible of our eligible sponsored children to non-goverment schools. Not all students are eligible as the selection criteria is quite stringent.
"Let us pull-out children from...poverty"
Compassion Ethiopia, Akaki