Bruder hilft seinen Zwillingsschwestern beim Lernen

Background information on Debre Berhan

Initial situation

This misery is extraordinary even for the conditions in one of the poorest countries in the world: entire families live in tiny shacks in the slums of Debre Berhan, often only separated from their neighbors by plastic sheets or an open latrine. This is not only a health hazard, but also degrading.

The families mostly have a similar story: They come from overpopulated villages where the fields are too small and too depleted to feed all the residents. But the newcomers' hope for a better life in the city is not fulfilled. Without training, they have to rely on poorly paid odd jobs as porters in the market or as unskilled laborers in construction. In a country without a functioning social system, children are forced to drop out of school in order to contribute to the family income - but without education their fate is sealed to remain in poverty for the rest of their lives. That's why it's so important to improve their general living situation and increase their chances of getting a school education.

Mutter mit Jungen auf dem Arm vor ihrer Hütte aus Plachen

Our help for self-development

Support for children - and parents

During its first visit, our inspection team saw that the people's situation was hopeless without outside help. The foundation therefore decided to develop a broad-based children's project: the families of initially 1000 children, and from 2022 of 1200 children, will be supported holistically so that their misery is alleviated in the short term and they have long-term opportunities for a humane life on their own.

A main focus of the project is to enable children from poor families to attend school. To do this, the basic prerequisites must first be created: Some children do not come to school because they are too weak due to malnutrition. Or they are sick because they do not know basic hygiene rules and do not have access to clean drinking water. That's why improving nutrition, hygiene knowledge and the drinking water situation is just as much a part of the measures as providing children with school uniforms and materials.

We show ways in which people can develop their own long-term perspectives. The mothers are organized into self-help groups and taught, for example, how they can start a small business with microcredits. 120 adolescents and young adults also receive start-up help to become self-employed.

The project prioritizes children who only have one parent or who show signs of undernourishment and malnutrition. In our selection process, we relied on associations of local interest groups (including women, senior citizens, church representatives) and authorities. In this way, we achieved the greatest possible objectivity and, with our social workers, can provide individual support to the most needy children and their families.