The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


DATE=1/6/2000 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT TITLE=STREET CHILDREN IN ETHIOPIA PART -II NUMBER=5-45189 BYLINE=HILLETEWORK MATHIAS DATELINE=WASHINGTON D.C. CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The issue of street children is getting increased recognition in Ethiopia. Several non- governmental organizations in the country are trying to enable these kids lead a normal life and realize their potential. In part two of his series on Street Children in Ethiopia, V-O-A's Hilletework Mathias looks at what some of these groups are doing to help the kids. TEXT: Street children in Ethiopia are like any other kids. The difference is the way they are forced to live. But they can have productive lives if they are given access to food, shelter, health care, education, and above all loving adult care. One indigenous organization embarked on such a mission is HOPE Enterprise, which began its work in 1971 with just three street children. Today, the organization is helping about five-thousand kids in Addis Ababa and two other Ethiopian towns - Dessie and Gambella. Its executive secretary Minas Hiruy discusses the group's philosophy about childcare. /// MINAS ACT /// We just do not only give hand outs. We take these children seriously. Contact is very important. Identification with them is very important. And many of us work with them, talk to them and play with them. And in the process, they get a sense that somebody cares for them. And at that point, we say 'hey we have this opportunity of training of education for you to be involved in and work your way out of the bad circumstance you are in.' And we have seen quite a few street children turning for the better and standing on their own. /// END OF ACT /// HOPE has about 14 training programs. The trainees are assigned as apprentices in real work environments in private and public organizations. Combined with these efforts, is a job placement program. Mr. Minas says HOPE has a good track record of placing most of its graduates in jobs. /// MINAS ACT // Most of these children find themselves at the basic care level, where we try to meet their basic needs. Very few numbers we assist through our vocational program. And the graduates from that are quite few. Last year, we graduated 140-youngsters, and off these, we managed to place some 70-percent of them. This is like four-months after they graduated. /// END OF ACT // One of the successful graduates of the organization is Haimanot Alemu, a former prostitute whose life HOPE changed for the better. // HAIMANOT ACT: EST ACT IN FULL IN AMHARIC AND FADE UNDER FOR TRANSLATION // I was a prostitute in the past. All I used to do was sleep in the daytime and go to work at night. The money I earned was not enough for school. Whatever I made was for my family. It was in the midst of this that HOPE found me on the street and took me to its office. I was 22 when I came to HOPE Enterprise. I first took some basic courses. Then I was trained in metal work for one year. I was then sent for apprenticeship to a company, which eventually hired me. Now I am a salaried employee. I make things like shelves, tables, and chairs. I like the job very much. Now I am even trying to work closely with those who have advanced knowledge in metal work. /// END OF ACT /// Among other non-governmental organization promoting the cause of disadvantaged children in Ethiopia is Forum on Street Children-Ethiopia (F-S-C-E). The organization is mainly an advocacy group trying to influence government policy in favor of street children. It also aims to enlighten members of the general public and the police about the true nature and needs of street children. The organization conducts its awareness-raising program in various ways, including preparing educational programs, printing relevant articles on police newspapers, and organizing seminars and orientation programs for police recruits. Dawit Woldemariam is the executive director of F-S-C- E. He says the group's efforts are paying off. /// DAWIT ACT /// We are able to work with the police commission. We have established 10 protection units in Addis Ababa's police stations. So when children come to these police stations they are refereed to these child protection units. And we are able to open coordinating offices in Addis police commission. And it is amazing the police commission assigned 14 police staff to work with us full time. A captain is assigned to coordinate this work and we have assigned our staff by what we call the community worker. And there is a legal advisor, psychologist. This is a breakthrough for us to work with police and make police more sensitive to the issue of street children. /// END OF ACT // Despite such efforts the number of street children in Ethiopia is increasing, and their quality of life is steadily going lower. The families from which they come live on the margins of existence, and with the cost of living rising inexorably and donor fatigue increasing, these kids are in peril. (SIGNED) NEB/HM/ENE/RAE 07-Jan-2000 08:51 AM EDT (07-Jan-2000 1351 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .

Join the mailing list