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Investments, Not Charity, Provide Hope to Ethiopia’s Most Vulnerable Children

by Portal Web Editor last modified Apr 25, 2014 02:32 PM
Contributors: Mengesha, Nardos, Steinitz, Lucy Y.
Hundreds of thousands of others throughout Ethiopia have been transformed by the Yekokeb Berhan Program for Highly Vulnerable Children, USAID’s second largest orphans and vulnerable children’s initiative in the world. The program, which began in 2011, is funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and is implemented by USAID partner Pact, a U.S.-based international NGO. Yekokeb Berhan means “light emanating from the stars” in Amharic.

Original Source

When it looked like 8-year-old Haimanot Berhanu’s mother was dying of AIDS, she and her younger brother were not shuttled off to live in another home or orphanage, once a common solution for vulnerable children in Ethiopia. Astede Moges, Haimanot’s mother, was bedridden and facing discrimination and neglect. Moges’ husband ran away after learning about her status. Her father-in-law then ordered her out of the house and he began taking care of the children.

USAID program volunteers found Moges and collaborated with the local health clinic to bring her back from the brink of death.

That was more than two years ago. Today, Haimanot has returned to her normal routine. She attends the same school she had to leave to care for her sick mother and dreams of becoming a doctor. Meanwhile, her mother is earning her own income by selling coffee, fruits and local grains by the roadside and is building a two-room house for the family in Adolla.

“Who could have imagined this change?” asked a now-healthy Moges.

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