Caring for the orphans in Ethiopia
The Abobo Bethel Congregation in Gambella, Ethiopia has initiated a project aimed at supporting orphaned children who have lost their pa- rents to HIV/AIDS in the Gambella region in Ethiopia. At the height of HIV/AIDS epidemic, many orphaned children – young girls and boys — became caretakers of their younger siblings. Extended family and neighbors initially stepped in to take care of the orphans.
In the long run, the existing social structures could no longer be sustained.
The Abobo Bethel Congregation encouraged its members to support the desperate orphans who were on the verge of becoming street children, and initiated its ministry for orphaned children.
The congregation provided financial support, asked members to adopt orphans and to support their educational needs.
Concerned churches in Germany responded and their congregations have actively supported the program for the last ten years. Three German volunteers – two in Germany and one in Ethiopia – raised funds for the orphans‘ program. However, in the last two years, the level of contribution has declined significantly.
The Abobo Bethel Congregation is seeking funding to support the program. The funds raised at the ELCG Harvest Festival are expected to directly support 50 orphans and another 150 orphans through education and counseling. The program will provide monthly food contributions to the orphans‘ host families, undertake Saturday tutorial classes, and provide counseling services, as well as school materials. Some of the orphans are making significant progress in their studies and may only require support for the next few years.
For other young children still in primary school, the congregation will need time to find creative ways to support them to complete their education. ELCG Sharing support will provide an opportunity to the Abobo Bethel Congregation to establish a more sustainable way of ensuring its long-term goal of providing education to the children and helping them achieve better lives.