Let’s end the orphan crisis. Seriously, let’s just end it.
Ending the crisis doesn’t mean there will never be orphaned or abandoned children in our world, but it does mean there’s a better way. There is hope.
Meet Zenebech and Belay.
Early life was bleak for Zenebech. Married at the age of 14 in the countryside of Ethiopia, her future was decided for her. An education was out of the question, especially after the birth of her first child. Because of an alcoholic husband, Zenebech did what she thought best and escaped to Addis Ababa with her son. For survival, she married a second time and had a daughter, but soon split with her new husband. With two kids, no education and alone in Addis Ababa, she didn't know if her family would survive.
Just as she was giving up on finding a solution, she came home one day to five missed calls. She picked up on the sixth call and was welcomed to Selamta Family Project to begin training as a Selamta mom.
Belay and his younger sisters had a happy childhood, but tragedy struck his family. Belay’s mother got sick and passed away, driving their father to alcoholism, who died soon after.
Brought to Selamta by his uncle at the age of 12, Belay was scared. He had heard horror stories of kids sent to orphanages and was afraid of what his future would hold. He agreed to go only because he wouldn’t be separated from his two younger sisters. But Selamta is not an orphanage.
Zenebech and Belay became family through Selamta’s Forever Family Program, an in-country, family-based, community integrated approach. When children have been orphaned or abandoned and reunification to biological family is not possible, Selamta brings together 8-10 children with a Selamta trained mom to start a new family in their own home.
"The staff truly care about the kids and the moms and treat them as their own family. That’s what’s different about Selamta. I’ve seen how things are done in orphanages and Selamta is nothing like that.” - Zenebech
Today, Belay is forever grateful. He grew up in a big loving family, earning his degree in Marketing and now watching his siblings follow in his footsteps. He recently launched into independence, running his own small transportation business, and has the financial stability to rent his own home.
Selamta's professional staff celebrated Belay's launch to independence in December, 2017.
Though life isn't always easy, Zenebech knows that with the support of her kids and Selamta, she can overcome anything. If you ask her what her future looks like now, she says, “It’s happy. I want to raise my grandchildren and give them the love that I gave my children.”
Now grown and independent, Belay reflects, “I’ve learned the importance of education, learning from my failures and bettering myself from them. Selamta has helped me push myself so I can be the best me. If I never joined Selamta, I wouldn't have made anything of my life.”
Now you know what’s possible.
You are ending the orphan crisis.
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