Summary of the Project

Within Ethiopia, over five million children - around 12% of Ethiopia’s total child population - are categorised as orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) (Save the Children, 2010).  Poverty and deaths of parents due to disease, armed conflict, recurrent drought and its subsequent food shortage/famine are all responsible factors. Ethiopia holds one of the largest populations of orphan and vulnerable children in the world.

It is estimated that between 40-60% of orphans live in grandparent-headed households, who often have insufficient sources of income. These elders face many difficulties in meeting their own basic needs, let alone those of their families.

Many of Ethiopia’s four million people over the age of 60 have no access to a state pension and were unable to save for their old age. If they have no family to support them, or they are caring for an orphaned relative, their only other option is to live and beg on the streets. Furthermore, many elders are living with chronic health conditions – some serious others more mild, but all debilitating.

Thanks to the generous funding of The Suzy Fund, Ethiopiaid and DEWADA have been able to provide elderly people and their vulnerable dependents with a package of tailored welfare support.  We have been able to address these needs and ensure that the elders are well-cared for and that children are able to obtain an education and make a brighter future for themselves.

Project Activities  

  • In the last 6 months, 100 orphans and their elderly caregivers have been receiving a monthly payment of 100 Birr (around £3.50). The other 100 children have been supported with their allowance by a contribution from another donor.  This has helped children to eat at least two meals a day, however the drought that has ravaged much of the country has pushed the price of food up significantly which has reduced the amount of food the beneficiaries have been able to afford.
  • Purchased school uniform for all 200 children.
  • Provision of exercise books, textbooks, pens and pencils for all children – a second batch of materials for the orphans will be bought later in the year.
  • Medical treatment for minor skin complaints and eye infections has been provided and all have received a general check- up by a doctor. Further quarterly check-ups will be scheduled later in the year.
  • Funded school fees for twenty-five school children to attend schools that are nearer to their homes. These children are unable to walk long distances/nor afford to use a taxi due to disability or being very young. We have been able to ensure their safety and ability to continue education.
  • Fortnightly visits from social workers to give counselling and support for all families.
  • Plans to provide a Christmas gift for each child, so that they can celebrate along with their peers.

Project Impact

  • Financial support to purchase basic necessities
  • Improved nutrition and health of malnourished orphaned and vulnerable children.
  • Children are properly equipped for school and able to participate fully.
  • Medical conditions are addressed promptly, with access to medication - preventing further complications.
  • Better emotional wellbeing for elders and orphans with the support of social workers and counsellors.
  • A happier environment in which to live and the skills, resources and confidence to create a more prosperous future for themselves.

Key challenge

The drought has caused the cost of food to rise to almost unaffordable levels.  Ethiopiaid is working with DEWADA to bulk-buy grains and cooking oil so that everyone can continue to eat at least 2 meals a day.

Plans for the rest of 2017

To continue the above activities and support DEWADA in appointing an in-country fundraiser to improve the sustainability of this project and the other areas of DEWADA’s work. 

How you have helped families like

Mother Woltemariam and her grandchildren Dagmawit and Dagim

Mother Woltemariam is a widow and beneficiary of DEWADA. She is 74 years old and has a daughter and two grandchildren: Dagmawit Amedin aged 10, and Dagim Amedin who is 11 years old.

Five years ago, Mother Waltmariam’s daughter was in a serious car accident, which left her with brain damage.  She  no longer recognises her mother nor her children. Her husband who saw the desperate condition of his wife left his family behind and ran away - nobody knows his whereabouts.   Mother Woltemariam has taken on the care of her grandchildren and was struggling to support them with her small monthly pension provided by DEWADA.

With the support of The Suzy Fund, the children have been given new school uniforms to replace their old, worn clothing and school bags to carry their books and lunch in.  They have been visited by a social worker to check how they are coping with their mother’s illness and give them an opportunity to talk about it.  Already their school attendance has improved, and we are hopeful that - with continued support- Dagmawit and Dagim will excel in their studies. 

Thank you to The Suzy Fund