Monday, November 06, 2006

Ethiopia: Steady increase in street children orphaned by AIDS

“I have not seen one good thing about living on the street. Everything is horrible,”
(Mandefro Kassa, 14-year-old street child)

Ethiopia counts one of the largest populations of orphans in the world: 13 per cent of children throughout the country are missing one or both parents. This represents an estimated 4.6 million children – 800,000 of whom were orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The country has seen a steady increase in the number of children becoming orphaned because of AIDS. In the past, famine, conflict and other diseases were the main factors that claimed the lives of parents

Grim statistics
Many street children like Mandefro don’t have access to basic rights such as proper care, education, psychological support and supervision. Often, orphans and other vulnerable children are forced to work to earn an income. They are exposed to various forms of exploitation, including sexual exploitation.
In Addis Ababa more than 30 per cent of girls aged 10-14 are not living with their parents. Twenty per cent of these 30 per cent have run away from child marriages.

Twelve per cent of adolescents aged 10-14 – of the 30 per cent not living with their parents – surveyed in two areas of Addis Ababa were domestic workers. They are very young, very vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, and typically have no legal or social support.

In the Amhara region, the average age of marriage for girls is 14, while at the national level the mean age for marriage is 17. There are about 2.5 million children with disabilities.

No social net for vulnerable children
Very few government services help orphans. The primary coping strategy for communities has therefore been the extended family. Increasingly, however, the capacity of the extended family to support the growing numbers of orphans is declining.

“As more and more parents die, the capacity of the extended family to take care of orphans becomes smaller and smaller,” says Björn Ljungqvist, UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia. “In all countries where you have a big HIV/AIDS epidemic, at first you don’t see any orphans at all, as they are absorbed by the traditional systems. And then all of a sudden you seem to reach some type of breaking point and you start finding these children in the streets, you start finding them working in difficult conditions, you start finding even child-headed households.”

Click here to read entire article!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey how are you?

there is another NGO like yours in ethiopia and i think you can work together.

the name is "NewLife"
it has been working for more than 9 years.
check the website is and contact them