Ethiopia: Transforming Lives Through Adopting Street Children

Every child is a seed to this planet and within every seed there is a generation that builds a nation. However, for economic, social or political reasons, it is not always common to see every seed bearing the expected fruit. For one or another reason, most seeds (children) are seen perishing with all the potential, hopes and talents entrusted to them from the creator. For the reasons stated above and due to the negative impacts of poverty, several children who are supposed to be the future doctors, pilots, teachers, engineers and others will end up on streets where life is full of suffering. This is not particular to poor countries. It is also common among economically advanced nations where modernization and child protection policy is strong.

Lately, the 6th DEBO Orphan Care Summit was held here in Addis Ababa. At the event several stakeholders, NGOs that are working on orphanages and others have shared their experiences on the importance of helping and adopting vulnerable children.

Mamusha Fenta (PhD), is a gospel teacher. He was among the participants of the Summit. Speaking to The Ethiopian Herald he said, the culture of adoption must be encouraged among the society. There were times where Ethiopian children used to be adopted or fostered by foreigners. But these days for various reasons, this practice is banned for good. “Now, it is our turn to raise at least one child from the street and adopt him/her into our family.

It is the responsibility of every Ethiopian to show kindness to those orphaned children. Adopting or fostering them into our family has both spiritual and moral rewards. Throwing coins or food to those little children on the street cannot solve their problem. We need to alleviate their challenge in a sustainable way.”

According to him, every street child deserves love, care and support in order to overcome all the challenging circumstances and lead a decent life. These vulnerable children often face numerous hardships, such as poverty, homelessness, lack of access to education, and exposure to violence and exploitation.

Yonatan Mengistu, is a program Manager at Make your Mark. According to him, children are precious gifts to our planet and hold the key to our collective future. They bring joy, innocence, and a sense of wonder to the world around them. As they grow and develop, they have the potential to become agents of positive change, to shape the future of our society, economy, and environment. In this regard, nurturing them with love and care is the responsibility of every citizen. This includes those orphaned children suffering on streets.

Saving a single child is saving the whole nation and it is the responsibility of every individual. Taking care of orphans or street children, because they are kids with purpose, should not be the only responsibility of either the government or NGOs. It is the duty of all humankind. No matter where they are or what their status is, children need love from their respective families, their surrounding community and the society at large. “This is what we are trying to do. They may have been once victims of addictions; they may have difficult or defiant behavior to handle, but it is our responsibility to show them love and respect and guide them to the right direction.

As to him, we, Ethiopians, have a good culture of helping each other and a tradition that promotes adoption of children. This culture must be nurtured to help those unfortunate children who suffer due to social and economic challenges. Whether it is through orphan centered institutions or individually, we should learn to cultivate the sense of love within their heart. This can be done either by adopting them into our family or sharing what we have.

Family is the only place where productive and responsible citizens are formed. It is where children feel more protected. No matter what kind of support children may receive from any charity organization, it cannot be compared with the support and love they get from a family. In this regard, while supporting vulnerable children within the institutions. We should also do our best to create family affection. As part of this mission, “Make Your Mark” is working aggressively on family prevention program-that focuses on supporting vulnerable children within their own families.

Most children are seen on streets for various reasons. Lack of security or safety is one reason that drives them into the streets. This safety issue could be absence of food, shelter, access to education or other needs which are basic to all human kinds. Sometimes, having abusive parents or divorce could be a reason that forces children to leave their house and end up on streets. For this reason, the issue of safety is one of the basic considerations of “Make your Mark” as it is trying to reunite orphan children with their parents.

Yonatan also said, as an organization that works focusing on vulnerable children and women, building their psychological and physical health is another area MYM is aggressively working on. Almost all vulnerable children are experiencing hard times on streets or abused by abusive families. Providing them spiritual as well as psychological help has a key role in mending what is broken.

Trent Post is an American citizen and founder of the “Make Your Mark” organization.

Trent had once an opportunity to visit Ethiopia and to adopt a girl who was born on the street. When he found her along with her mom, who was only 13, she was only seven years old. After taking that little girl, Trent and his wife are able to provide her all her necessary needs and that little girl is now a third year college student in the U.S.

According to Trent, we bring children to this world either by birth or adoption. But in either way we have a responsibility to show them love and care. The same is true for street children who suffer from lots of traumas and pains, aside from economic deprivation. We should show them love. This could be by providing all the care they need or adopting them. Having lots of money by itself will not guarantee adoption. It is the love and compassion that makes people adopt or foster children. In this regard, Ethiopians are good examples. There are lots of individuals who are committed to raising street children and adopt them. Even if they do not have sufficient wealth, they do it with compassion, kindheartedness and out of selflessness.

It is crucial for society to recognize the inherent worth and potential of every street child. By offering them love and compassion, we can provide a nurturing environment where they feel valued and supported. Love can make a significant difference in their lives; help them to rebuild their sense of self-worth and provide them with the emotional stability they need to move forward.

Love also entails providing practical assistance and opportunities for street children. This can include access to education, healthcare services, nutrition, and shelter.

Additionally, love means advocating for the rights of street children and working towards systemic changes that address the root causes of their predicament. It involves raising awareness, devising policies that protect their rights and creating a society that supports their well-being.


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