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Debre Berhan – Children’s aid

Helping 1,200 children escape poverty

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Project Information

  • Activities:
    – Supporting school attendance
    – Introducing preventive healthcare for children
    – Setting up self-help groups
    – Micro loans and vocational training for parents
    – Training and vocational start-up support for adolescents
  • Target group: the poorest children and their families
  • Region: Debre Berhan, Amhara
  • Partner: Emmanuel Development Association (EDA)
  • Duration: 3-year project phases

Project Goal

Project Description

PROJECT AIM

We are improving the living conditions of 1,200 children from the poorest families in the city of Debre Berhan, giving them the opportunity to help themselves and to overcome poverty.

 

MEASURES

  • Supporting school attendance: Children receive food and school supplies
  • Preventive healthcare: Hygiene lessons for parents, medical check-ups for children, improvements in the provision of drinking water and sanitation
  • Improving incomes: Self-help groups for women to access micro loans and start their own businesses. Adolescents also receive vocational training and seed money for a professional future.
  • Strengthening the civil society: Training for parent and community based groups

 

THE PROJECT

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: The families of initially 1,000 children, and from 2022 1,200 children, will be supported holistically so that their misery is alleviated in the short term and in the long term they are given the chance to live a dignified life on their own. 

Ensuring children from the poorest families have the opportunity to go to school is essential. The first task therefore is to establish the basic prerequisites: Some children are too weak to go to school because of malnutrition. Others are sick, lacking a basic understanding of hygiene or access to clean drinking water. Improving nutrition, hygiene and drinking water is therefore as important as providing the children with school uniforms and supplies.

We show people how they can build a better future for themselves, setting up self-help groups for mothers and teaching them how to access micro credit to start small businesses, for example. 120 adolescents and young adults also receive start-up support for professional independence.

Our project initially is focused on children of single parents or those showing signs of malnourishment or malnutrition. Our selection procedures relied on the joint decisions of local community groups (including women, elders of the community and church representatives) and local authorities. These allowed us to provide individual support for children in the most need and their families.

The Problem

This level of hardship is relatively unusual even here in one of the poorest countries in the world: Entire families live in the slums of Debre Berhan in tiny shacks, often with only a tarpaulin sheet or an open latrine separating them and their neighbours. The health risks are obvious, but it is also degrading.

The families often tell a similar story: They come from overcrowded villages with fields that are too small and degraded to feed the inhabitants. But their hopes of a better life in the city are soon dashed. With no education, they rely on poorly paid casual work as market runners or building site labourers. In a country with no social system to speak of, the children are forced to leave school and contribute to the family income – but with no education, their fate of a life in poverty is sealed. Breaking this cycle by improving general living conditions and access to education is vital.

Project Information

  • Activities:
    – Supporting school attendance
    – Introducing preventive healthcare for children
    – Setting up self-help groups
    – Micro loans and vocational training for parents
    – Training and vocational start-up support for adolescents
  • Target group: the poorest children and their families
  • Region: Debre Berhan, Amhara
  • Partner: Emmanuel Development Association (EDA)
  • Duration: 3-year project phases

Project Goal