For children living on the streets of Addis Ababa, Hope’s feeding centre is a life line.
With nearly a third of the Ethiopian population living below the poverty line, thousands of children are forced onto the streets to fight for their survival.
Ethiopiaid supporters are helping to provide for vulnerable children who attend Hope’s feeding centre. For six days a week every child receives a nutritious breakfast, counselling, clothing and support to get off the streets and into education. For so many this is the only meal of the day they can rely on.
Hope Enterprises calls their approach the ‘Ladder of Hope’. Working with children from poor families and those who live on the street, their programme aims to support children on each step of the ladder. From kindergarten, primary and secondary school to vocational training and further education. Hope is there every step of the way.
450 street children are currently supported through the street children’s breakfast programme.
During the COVID-19 pandemic and closure of schools across the country, Hope have continued to provide emergency food packages to these children as well as for almost 5,000 Hope school students.
Since our last update from Hope in May 2020 (read here) COVID-19 has hit hard. The government has responded with measures such as social distancing, bans on meetings of more than 4 people and quarantine on visitors from abroad as well as encouraging frequent hand-washing. The lockdown, introduced in late March, lasted for 5 months and whilst some restrictions are easing life remains extremely difficult for the destitute and most vulnerable in communities.
For children living on the streets hardships have worsened considerably. Hope Enterprise, with the help of Ethiopiaid, ramped up their efforts to feed vulnerable children every day during the lockdown. A counseling service was also provided and support with maintaining some learning. Hope also delivered information and training on social distancing and hand-washing and hygiene practices to children, teachers and families. Hope Enterprises’ Chair Dr Minas told us:
“We continue to support our children with dry ration…… And our new initiative of supporting street children with meals and masks in conjunction with government efforts has been going very well. From our visits, one cannot avoid noticing the slowdown in the economy and the many idle youngsters. This problem is compounded by inflation. Times are indeed hard.”