SOS Children in Ethiopia

SOS Children Sponsorship Sites in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is Africa's oldest independent country and, with the exception of a five year occupation by Mussolini's Italy, it has never been colonized. Although relatively free from the coups that have plagued other African countries, drought, famine, war and internal politics brought millions of its people to the brink of starvation in the 1970s and 1980s.

Today, Ethiopia remains one of Africa's poorest countries, with a very low income per capita - less than £6 per month - and a population that is almost two-thirds illiterate. Continuing food and water shortages are causing high levels of malnutrition, and the incidence of communicable diseases is rising. The already limited educational opportunities are being further disrupted by the displacement of families and the struggle for survival, taking away children's opportunities to acquire basic life-skills.

Ethiopia is one of countries in the world most severely affected by HIV/AIDS. Over 7.3 per cent of the population is infected and an estimated 2.2 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, including 200,000 children.

SOS Children in Ethiopia

SOS Children first began working in Ethiopia as a result of the famine in 1974, and the government's appeal for international aid, with the construction of the charity's community in Makalle, the capital of Tigray, the region worst hit by the famine. The village comprises of:

  • Sixteen family houses

  • Four youth houses

  • A kindergarten

  • A primary and secondary school

  • A farm

  • A medical centre

The farm, medical centre, schools and kindergarten are all open to the local community. Makalle was followed three years later by a community in Harrar, 580 kms east of Addis Abeba and, again an area frequently devastated by drought. Harrar has fifteen family houses and, like Makalle, a kindergarten and a primary and secondary school.

The charity's third community was built in the capital, Addis Abeba, in 1981 providing a new home for over 200 children and young people in its fifteen family houses and two youth houses. Here, older children can take their first guided steps towards independence, living together while they complete their education or acquire a trade at the SOS vocational training centre which has workshops for carpentry, metalwork and car mechanics.

In 1985, drought and famine again hit Ethiopia. An artificial reservoir was constructed at Makalle to supply the SOS Children's community and the farm, as well as the surrounding community. SOS Children established a wide-reaching emergency relief programme feeding over 1000 people a day and providing emergency accommodation in Wukro, about 50 km north of Makalle, and in Awassa in the Rift Valley.

SOs Children in Ethiopia

SOS Children opened a community in Awassa in 1985, with fifteen family houses. Two youth houses have since been added. Agricultural training is provided as well as primary and secondary school education in the School which has capacity for 720 students. In the same year, the SOS Andassa Farm was set up at Bahir Dar, north of Addis Abeba on the banks of Lake Tana, to supply basic foodstuffs for all of the SOS Children's communities in Ethiopia. The main emphasis is on dairy farming and vegetable production, with an animal feeding unit, and it also provides agricultural training for SOS youths.

Bahir Dar, one of the most dynamic and fastest growing towns in Ethiopia, is also the site of the country's fifth SOS Children's community. The village has twelve family houses, a kindergarten with four classes and a service and administration block with a bakery and a shop. A charity School, providing primary and secondary education for 420 pupils, opened in January 2003.

Another catastrophic drought in 2000 led to a further emergency relief programme, this time in Ogaden in the south-east near the border with Somalia. An emergency relief centre was set up in Gode to provide food and basic medical treatment, while work began on a new SOS Children's Village in Gode. The completed village opened in August 2004 and has 12 family homes. In September 2005 a kindergarten for over 100 children, an SOS Primary and Secondary School for over 400 pupils and a medical centre, which treats over 4000 patients a year, were opened.

Local Contacts

SOS Children's Villages Ethiopia, Bole Road, Wordela 17, Keble 17, PO Box 3495, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia
Tel +251/1/61 15 01
Fax +251/1/61/16 33

Ethiopia Child Sponsorship

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