Our board member, Tsion, visited our local partner, Hirut, in Gulelle, an area of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They talked about the needs facing the community and Hirut again confirmed what we know: the girls want to go to school, but they can’t do it without support.
Most of these girls have been orphaned to HIV/AIDS and are living with relatives. The majority of these families live on approximately $1.88 a day, making the mandatory public school enrollment fees, uniform and supplies completely out of the realm of possibility. Further, these families struggle to afford food and basic necessities, like cooking oil and fuel. Many of the girls try to earn money for their relatives through cleaning houses or begging.
We want these girls to go to school, and we don’t want their relatives to suffer because they are learning instead of working.
Tsion affirmed our commitment to sponsor as many girls as possible, paying all school expenses while providing the household with basic needs like eggs and blankets and fuel. She and Hirut discussed the need to check attendance and grades, making sure that we remain alert to problems so that we can intervene early.
If we can get these girls in school- and ensure that they stay there- we can lower their risk of HIV/AIDS, trafficking, child marriage, child labor and domestic violence. If we can support the families, we can ensure that these girls have amore stable home environment, with no fear of being throw out due to poverty.
It’s a pathway toward agency, autonomy and aspirations. It’s a pathway toward a life of dignity. We’re committed. Onward.