At the end of my trip I no longer saw the citizens of Addis Ababa as victims. I chose to focus on more than all the overwhelmingly negative scenarios and situations I had initially seen when I first got to Ethiopia. I am so glad I had the eighteen days to spend in Ethiopia because in the end I felt completely different. I was able to see the positive outcomes it can make to the child and their families future by participating in the programs with Kids Hope Ethiopia. Not only does education give a child a way to break free from the cycle of poverty but the program itself also offers children the ability to gain confidence and have a safety net. I was able to see first hand how these programs at each center became a second home to the children. It was a place they wanted to come to every day after school because it made them feel accepted, supported, and safe! Kids Hope Ethiopia has also begun to help the mothers of the children in the programs by involving them in activities that help them generate an income. Some of the activities the mothers are involved in are baking injera (flat bread) they sell and also the women have a chicken coop. This is another great way to help support the family as a unity. The adults are able to then buy food for their family and pay for their rent or shelter and this allows the child to focus more on education. I felt lucky to have been invited into these children’s’ homes and speak to their parents and hear about how proud they were of their educated children. Many acknowledged the importance of education and how they are going to support their child in school so they can have a bright future.
Our group of volunteers during the first week
Helping children wash their hair at Kality
The injera making project with the guardians
~Colleen Bakke (Registered nurse, Regina, Sask.)