Children At Risk
Data on orphans and children at risk in Ethiopia presents a stark view of daily reality for these kids. Five million children (11%) have been left orphaned. 750,00 of which have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS.
The result has been children raising themselves and each other in child-headed households. These orphaned children lack normal growth and development opportunities, basic healthcare and education, and are at increased risk for exploitation and abuse.
Unique Model Creates Families
The Global Family Initiative was formed as a response to this crisis and focused initial efforts on Addis Ababa – the area with the lowest proportion of children living in homes with both parents. The goal is giving children the safety and security of a family-like life while supporting educational and economic wellbeing.
Their model is unique in intentionally embracing the culture – working to set up homes for orphaned children that take the area’s approach to family into account. Homes are established in the community in modern dwellings with supportive staff available. Each home houses 7-8 kids, a Mother, and one or two Aunties.
Household members are provided with
- Nutritious food
- Medical care by an on-call doctor
- Recreational opportunities and a wider community
Global Family Initiative Prepares for the Future
Children receive an excellent private education with programs supported by volunteers from Columbia University, Middlebury College and Boston University, and partnerships with community libraries and computer labs. Savings accounts are established for each child with annual deposits to provide for basic living necessities when they reach adulthood.
One of the most compelling parts of the Global Family Initiative’s approach is in the program’s sustainability. Women in the community are trained in childcare when necessary to become adults in the orphanage houses. Children who grow up there can train to become Mothers and Aunties themselves and volunteers train other volunteers, with the goal that the program ultimately sustains itself.
The Global Family Initiative works closely with the community, extending programs to the whole community when possible. The Learning Lions program provides education to children in the community who have families but lack educational resources. The Women’s Empowerment Program offers workshops and entrepreneurial training to help women in the area ensure their financial success.
Learn more about supporting the Global Family Initiative’s work