Moving Pictures

I was looking through the papers online the other day and came across the most profoundly moving photo of a tiny little emaciated little boy being fed water by a remarkable lady called Anja Ringgren Lovén. The little boy, named Hope, had been living on the streets and surviving on scraps for eight months after his family abandoned him, believing him to be a witch.

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Anja feeding Hope

Anja took him to the nearest hospital where made a full recovery. “He’s taking food for himself, and he responds to the medicine he gets,” she wrote in a blog post. “Today he has had powers to sit up and smiling at us. He’s a strong little boy. To see him sit and play with my own son is without doubt the greatest experience of my life! I just don’t know how to describe it in words.”

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Three years ago Anja Ringgren Lovén sold everything she owned back in Denmark to set up her charity African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation (ACAEDF) in Nigeria to support children who had been accused of being witches. She received a call about Hope and immediately went to his rescue.

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Hope now

Anja and her partner David are now looking after Hope at a home they created for abandoned children accused of witchcraft and they currently have 34 in their care.

If you’d like to donate to their cause, please click here.

Follow Anja’s work below:

On Facebook here.

On Instagram here.

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Charity profile: Ethiopiaid

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I recently had the pleasure of doing some volunteering for a fantastic charity called Ethiopiaid. I was lucky enough to be contacted by them about some information on my blog and after researching their work I was really impressed at how much of a difference they’ve made in Ethiopia over the last 25 years in areas such as poverty alleviation, healthcare and education.

They are a small charity with a huge passion for making a difference to those in need.

The charity was founded in 1989 by Sir Alec Reed. He had recently been to Ethiopia and seen for himself the poverty suffered by many Ethiopians, so starting with an investment of £1m, hardworking staff and donated office space Ethiopiaid has grown into a charity that has raised over £28 million for trusted community partners in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. In 2011, Sir Alec received a knighthood for his services to charity.

Ethiopiaid raises funds for trusted community partners in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, and only work with the best local charities, valued for their expertise, skill and ambition.

The charity has very low admin expenses as they only have three members of staff in the UK and their office space is donated. The % of the donors £ that goes to admin costs is between 5-6%. So for every £1 you donate, only 5-6 pence of it goes on admin costs – the rest goes to those who need it.

The amount they donate to projects depend on the partner’s needs so this varies from year to year. In 2013, they donated £1.1 million of public funding to partner projects in Ethiopia.

Ethiopiaid are very realistic, they will not promise to change the entire world or all of Ethiopia. What they can promise is that together they will make a significant difference in the local areas that they do support.

Here are just some of Ethiopiaid’s community partners:

Eneredada

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Eneredada, which means ‘Let’s help each other’, is a day centre for elderly people. A lack of pensions in Ethiopia means that life can be especially difficult for the elderly and often they have no living family to care for them and many are left trying to scrape together enough to survive from one day to the next.

Eneredada addresses basic needs by providing food, clothing, medicine and house repairs to those who require them. The volunteers also work to inspire confidence and a sense of belonging and self-worth amongst the members, many of whom consider themselves a burden.

HOPE

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In Addis Ababa, there are an estimated 60,000 children living rough on the streets desperately looking for food and shelter. Many are forced to beg, steal or prostitute themselves, simply to get money for their next meal. For these children, education is a luxury they simply cannot afford.

Since 2000, HOPE has been working with Ethiopiaid to feed and school hundreds of street children who are rounded up by the dedicated project staff from doorways, bus stations and derelict hovels. The breakfast (two pieces of bread, milk and a banana) provides an incentive for attending informal classes in basic literacy and numeracy which are held afterwards. A social worker and project officer are actively working to re-unite targeted children with their families.

Just £100 will provide a street child with breakfast AND schooling for an entire year. In 2008, the results recorded by the school for its national examination takers was one of the best in the country.

Addids Ababa Fistula Hospital

Fistulas occur in Ethiopia for two main reasons. Pre-natal and maternal healthcare is often unavailable and in Ethiopia girls as young as 4 or 5 are betrothed and intercourse often takes place before their teens. Many of these girls are simply not ready to carry children and so complications arise when labour starts.

A fistula is a hole in the tissue between the vaginal wall and bladder which causes women to leak urine and faeces. This can be repaired with a simple operation, which lasts less than an hour, the cost of which is £400.

The nurse aides at the hospital are all ex-patients and the hospital trains women who are recovering from their operations in tailoring skills to help them to find work making dresses and uniforms after returning home. When a woman has fully recovered she is given a new dress and the means to get home. She is also instructed in how important it is to get to hospital for any future births. Each patient is provided with a card they can present to doctors on their arrival, explaining that they may be in need of a caesarean section.

The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital has also opened four outreach centres across Ethiopia and the new midwifery college trains midwives to work in rural areas where antenatal care is desperately needed. After training, the midwives work in clinics in remote areas providing ante-natal care and attending child-births. In the case of obstructed labour the midwives will refer the women to the nearest hospital, improving the chances of a healthy childbirth and decrease the number of women falling victim to injuries such as fistula and worse.

Last year the doctors treated over 2,500 women.

Cheshire Services

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For a disabled child in Ethiopia, access to education is almost impossible. Physical disability is often considered a curse from God and many disabled children and adults spend their whole lives hidden out of sight by their ashamed families. In addition, the lack of adequate healthcare in Ethiopia means mobility aids are not widely available. Those who are unable to walk unassisted are left to crawl or drag themselves around on the floor.

Ethiopiaid has been working with Cheshire Services since 1998 to provide thousands of disabled children and adults with walking appliances, corrective surgery and physiotherapy. The causes of their disabilities vary; many have suffered from polio, others have lost one or more limbs in land mine explosions and some have been involved in work place or traffic accidents. But there is hope of a brighter future for all of them.

AWSAD

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AWSAD’s objective is to educate all Ethiopians – men, women and children – about the issues and injustice surrounding gender-based violence. They run two safe houses in Ethiopia, where victims of rape, violence and abuse can find shelter, food, medical care and counselling. The safe houses are supported by professional lawyers who provide legal aid to the women that have suffered gender based violence, in order to fight for justice.

At the safe house, the women have access to life skills training consisting of one to one sessions, group therapy and self defense training, in order to enhance the women’s confidence and psychological wellbeing. The women and girls also get training in food preparation, hair dressing and embroidery which will enable them to generate their own income and work towards an independent future once they have left the safe house.

Meron’s story…

This story starts back in 2001, when Meron, a five-year-old girl from Addis Ababa lost her mother. She was raised by her father but was brought up in isolation and never given the love and support she needed to flourish. Much worse was to come, and when Meron turned sixteen last year, her father – the one person who was meant to protect her – violently raped her.

So scared was Meron of her father that she believed he would kill her if she told anyone about this disgusting abuse. And so the rape continued for months and months. Before long, Meron’s belly began to grow. She was terrified and in denial. It was only when a neighbour encouraged her to have a check up that she fully realised the truth: Meron was pregnant.

The news broke her and Meron attempted suicide by drinking poison in her school playground. This was to be the turning point in her story. She was rushed to hospital by her teachers and it was there that she was referred to AWSAD, who took her to a safe house. She was given counselling to help her come to terms with her abuse, as well as medical attention to help her look after her unborn child. But the support did not end there.

AWSAD have helped to turn Meron’s life around. While under their care, she has safely given birth to her child and been given shelter, food, training in business and self-defence – even legal assistance. As a result, Meron’s father has been sentenced to over 21 years in prison.

Please, Give Here to support victims of rape and violence today.

Your gift could help pay for training for a victim – just as other supporters’ generosity did for Meron, who learned embroidery and business skills. She is now looking forward to starting her own company.

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By targeting the areas of poverty alleviation, healthcare and education Ethiopiaid are helping the poorest to find their way out of unnecessary suffering.

The charity visits Ethiopia at least once each year to conduct project field visits and as you can see from some of the examples above, their partners operate effectively and achieve visible results.

If you would like to find out more about this fantastic charity, please visit their website by clicking here.

If you would like to donate, please visit – http://ethiopiaid.org.uk/support/donate

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