Reuniting street children and supporting education in the Amhara region of Ethiopia

Children in Ethiopia may live on the streets for many reasons: they may be orphans or abandoned, they may have been abused and run-away, they may have been neglected or felt unwanted by their families. In all of these cases, the situation can be hopeless. Without the care and support of their parents, these children will suffer from a lack of education and healthcare and will face many social and psychological troubles.

From 2015 to 2017 we supported our partner charity APA to implement an extensive reunification programme for 40 street children in East Gojjam. As part of this project and critical to its success was the importance of working together alongside government organisations, faith based and community based organisations and community-care coalitions in the area to make it effective.

Throughout the year children received 40 days training on:
• life skills and HIV/AIDS,
• conflict resolution and management,
• child rights and positive discipline
• peer education and family influence
• leadership

40 families of the reunited children also attended training in family life, hygiene and sanitation. After the training, the reunified children became more motivated and able to better cope with the difficulties of their life.

Educational support
We also provided educational support for 364 vulnerable children and young people which included educational grants, uniforms, blankets, school bags and reference books.

Income Generating Activities
One of the main challenges for the families of reunified children is being able to generate income so they can supply their children with basic needs, which reduces the risk for the children to return to the street life. As part of the programme a 10 days training in Basic Business Skills (BBS) was provided for 40 family members so they could learn about entrepreneurship and business, planning, finance, leadership and book-keeping. At the end of the training, the 40 families of the reunified children have been involved in different income generating activities using start-up capital.

Coming together to support each other
Dialogue among reunified children is really necessary for the process to be positive. We also supported 15 families to get together in a monthly traditional coffee ceremony.

Support Groups for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children
Necessary materials were purchased locally and distributed to six associations for orphaned and vulnerable children. This included volleyballs, soaps, drawing books, colours, pencils, 12 footballs and sportswear.

A three day training programme for 40 children’s association members was also provided to give them a deeper knowledge in topics like life-skills, leadership, their association’s objectives and importance, problem solving.