[ “SHARE” Jan-Feb 2017 ] JOIN HANDS JOIN HEARTS
Children are the hope of our society, and most parents would stop at nothing to provide the best for their growth. However, life is different for the children born in the slums who struggle to obtain necessities daily, consequently giving them more obstacles to a bright future.
Our partner in Ethiopia, the Addis Ababa Guenet Church (AAGC), has been tasked to giving the slum children and their families a better environment for over 20 years.
AAGC provides basic living, education, and health support to the children admitted to their programme, and it holds regular parent self-help groups where they would learn how to manage their finance and do business, to give them a more stable income. It keeps contact with the children who graduated from the programme and continues to walk with them through each of their important life stages.
Abraham Tadasse, the head of the graduate relations of AAGC, is a dear friend of multiple graduates of the programme. He and other staff are often invited to the graduates’ weddings, and are even looked up to as their parents to whom they could share the joy and sadness in life.
Abraham was grateful that the children of poverty in the past could grow into men and women that could support their families; He was especially touched to see the changes in child after child, and family after family. “There was a time when I was waiting for taxi, and I came across a programme graduate. She mentioned that I taught her to work hard in improving her own financial conditions, and it became her motivation till that day, where she was in pursuit of a second degree.” She insisted to pay for Abraham’s trip when they parted ways. It is through these encounters that our Lord has continued to bless the staff and the beneficiaries of AAGC.
Estifanos Menchegerot is another graduate of the programme who expressed tremendous appreciation to Mesker, one of the social workers at AAGC. He was a troublesome and hyperactive kid who was put under the patient care of Mesker, who regularly visit his home in the slums. Estifanos slowly improved over the years, and he has just recently graduated from the Bahir Dar University, majoring in fashion design, and was given the job of an assistant lecturer. He kept a close relationship with Mesker and wished to give back to AAGC to help more children who had similar experience as his.
There is still a disheartening amount of children struggling to flourish in the suburbs, who could see little hope in their future. However, it is through the persistent care of the likes of AAGC that we could see tangible changes in the slum children that really gave them hope.