When a mission’s focus is primarily on long-term transformation, it means seeing the results of that transformation take time. After celebrating our 10th anniversary of working in Ethiopia, we have had the opportunity to see many amazing things that our work has made possible through Jesus Christ, even amid conflict and difficult circumstances.
Ethiopia has experienced civil conflict over the course of the last year or so, as the Ethiopian government and TPLF forces fought for control of Northern territory. Turbulent events like this often cause citizen displacement and damage communities and infrastructure. This showcases just how important our work is in developing nations, where events like this are much more common than in more stable, developed countries. And by the grace of God, our two CarePoints within the conflict region are working to recover and reestablish operations after the Ethiopian government was able to retake the area and establish safety and stability.
After our years of community investment, Children’s HopeChest currently has over 30 CarePoints in Ethiopia. Each CarePoint is unique, but each one is providing child-centered community support. Children who attend CarePoints receive educational support such as tutoring, nutritional support, and are able to participate in valuable extracurricular activities, like sports, crafts, and writing to their sponsor. The CarePoint provides a critical service to the community by providing a safe place for vulnerable children to spend their time and be encouraged to focus on their education and discipleship. With the additional challenge of Covid-19, children and families in our program receive ongoing hygiene trainings and face masks. Children even get to help plant trees and clean up their neighborhoods to learn about the importance of taking care of their community, which is important for them to learn when there’s often threats to community infrastructure.
But there’s a lot more to healthy child development than just immediate needs, especially when living in impoverished areas. Studies have shown that living in poverty increases the risk of mental illness, chronic diseases, and other chronic health problems. Ethiopian CarePoints also include programs for teaching children about disease spread, processing grief and trauma, and developing healthy relationships into their adulthood. This is even more important with the recent conflict, which has caused new trauma to many people in the region. These CarePoint programs help children avoid many of the conditions that make poverty even more difficult to escape. CarePoints are also equipped with workers trained to make home visits to check on children and even navigate familial disputes. In Ethiopia, CarePoint staff have been instrumental in preventing child marriages of girls who attend their CarePoint, as well as raising awareness of the dangers of child marriage in the community. This is especially important, as child marriage rates historically rise during times of widespread hardship, such as famine, disasters, and war.
The cabinet of the Shashemene City Administration, part of the Ethiopian government, selected the top 5 non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) to recognize for their accomplishments- Children’s HopeChest was one of them. Shashemene’s mayor particularly admired our focus on our sustainable approach to development. They promised to support HopeChest in anything we need in order to empower the children and their respective families. It’s a big honor for our organization to receive such high praise from the local officials, and to know that our impact is recognized. Our Ethiopian staff were honored to be presented with certificates of achievement.
The US HopeChest staff and partners were also able to travel in October 2021 to be present during the 10th Anniversary celebrations in honor of ten successful years of HopeChest partnership in Ethiopia. CarePoints from all over came to show off their CarePoints’ achievements over the years and the progress that they’ve made.
They were all very proud to highlight their children’s accomplishments and the impact they’ve been able to make in their communities. Many also showcased the income-generating activities that CarePoint children’s guardians have been able to participate in and generate income for their families.
Scroll the carousel below to take a walk around the Ethiopian CarePoint booths from the celebrations!
While we’ve made amazing advances, larger circumstances- like the Ethiopian conflict in the northern region- are always going to impact our mission. And the same way HopeChest has adapted to the larger circumstance of a global pandemic, we will continue to adapt to situations that are out of our control, to support all of the communities involved in their path forward.
We will be continuing forward with our work in Ethiopia with renewed determination in our mission to bring hope to those who need it most. You can help us do that, by contributing to our Ethiopian Emergency Fund, which is going to provide relief supplies to the affected communities. Your generosity will enable us to provide that relief as fast as possible.