A Glimpse of Poverty in Ethiopia’s Capital – Addis Ababa
Children in need who live in and around Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, struggle with many daunting challenges.
- Often they are orphaned and grow up without the love and protection of a parent.
- Orphans frequently end up with relatives who take responsibility for them but are frustrated by poverty and withhold affection and care.
- Some children end up on the streets.
- Children are orphaned through illness, domestic violence, broken homes and substance abuse.
- These children tend to have low self-esteem and lose hope for the future.
- Negative influences in the city often lead young people in the wrong direction. There is easy access to bars and “chat houses.” (Chat is a highly addictive stimulant herb.)
- As long as they make money, people who own these businesses are not concerned about the well-being of the children who frequent them.
In Ethiopia’s Capital – Addis Ababa
Geography & Climate
Addis Ababa, 8,000 feet above sea level, is the highest city in Africa. Covering about 90 square miles, it is the highest city in Africa and enjoys a temperate climate year-round. The capital is in the geographic center of the country, on a high plateau surrounded by hills and mountains.
Addis Ababa is a picture of contrasts. Next to gleaming skyscrapers are slum neighborhoods of tin shacks, and dirt roads run adjacent to city highways.
Many people migrate to Addis Ababa from rural areas in search of jobs and a better way of life. However, they typically find only disappointment and worse poverty than what they left.
Employment is scarce, and people work at whatever menial jobs they can find.
Children at Home
Addis Ababa’s impoverished people live in sprawling, squalid slums in conditions of great suffering and need.
Homes are fragile, makeshift dwellings made of whatever scrap materials can be found.
Typically, there are no amenities in these slums, such as electricity, public sanitation or running water.
Issues and Concerns
- Nearly all homes in Addis Ababa have access to safe drinking water, but more than 14 percent have no access to adequate toilet facilities.
- Lack of sanitary conditions in the city slums poses a health hazard, especially for children.
- In addition to widespread unemployment and underemployment, this area battles an elevated infant mortality rate, high rates of inflation, and the rapidly rising cost of fuel.
Local Needs and Challenges
Inadequate public services
The lack of drainage and sanitation systems poses a serious health risk to children.
Poor quality schools
Schools are typically undersupplied and overcrowded, with more than 50 students per teacher.
Schools and Education
- Schools in Addis Ababa have replaced the traditional half-day shift system with a full-day system.
- The school day starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m.
- Children earn a completion certificate after they finish 10th grade.
- Those going on to college attend two more years of preparatory classes, after which they take a university entrance examination.
- As throughout the rest of the country, classes in Addis Ababa are overcrowded, with an average of 56 students per teacher.
Compassion Ethiopia works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend school, and it provides additional support, including tutoring, at the child development centers.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
Compassion serves children in Addis Ababa through local church-based child development centers. These centers are havens of love and learning for registered children.
Children receive nutritious meals, hygiene training and tutoring. They are also encouraged to develop their talents and abilities.
Most important, children learn about the love of God and gift of salvation in Christ.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing real help and hope to impoverished children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, providing:
- regular nutritious meals and snacks
- health checkups and medical care as needed
- the support needed to attend school
- a safe haven from the many negative influences in the city
- spiritual nurture that develops children’s ability to say “no” to things that would harm their lives and future
- encouragement that develops children’s self-confidence and motivation to strive for the best
- caregiver training sessions to raise awareness of good parenting practices