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Debre Berhan – Children’s aid

Helping 1,000 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
  • Target group: the poorest children and their families
  • Region: Debre Berhan, Amhara
  • Partner: Emmanuel Development Association (EDA)
  • Duration: 3 years

Project Goal

Project Description

PROJECT AIM

We are improving the living conditions of 1,000 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
  • Strengthening the civil society: Training for parent and community based groups

 

THE PROJECT

The first visit shocked our inspection team: Outside intervention was clearly required to improve the desperate situation. Our foundation made the decision to develop a comprehensive children’s project: To support the families of 1,000 children in different ways to reduce their hardship in the short term and help them to help themselves for the long term.

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.

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 community based organsations identified children for the project, ensuring the greatest possible objectivity. 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
  • Target group: the poorest children and their families
  • Region: Debre Berhan, Amhara
  • Partner: Emmanuel Development Association (EDA)
  • Duration: 3 years

Project Goal