Onisemus Means: He Who Was Useless Has Become Useful
Today we had the privilege of going to be Onesimus House here in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This is an incredible multi-pronged ministry that reaches out and transforms the lives of children living on the streets. We met Joe Bridges about seven years ago. He was just beginning a new ministry to the street children of Ethiopia called The Forsaken Children. We were so deeply impressed, not only by his vision, but also by his outstanding character. Soon, the vision of The Forsaken Children became a reality as they launched their work to help the street children of Addis Ababa. Streams of Mercy supports this amazing ministry every month. We want to dramatically increase the amount of support we send, by finding donors who want to help reach more street children in Ethiopia.
Phase One: The Onesimus Drop-in Center
The Forsaken Children and Onesimus work together to form a dynamic partnership! The drop in center is the Initial program of this ministry. Children living on the streets come each day to a program that transforms their lives. When the children arrive they immediately get a shower, receive clean clothes, and begin their daily program. Their day includes breakfast, an education with tutors, lunch, recreation, and studies in the scripture. They also receive life skills training that will help them to become successful adults.
Phase Two: The Half – Way House
The second phase of this dynamic ministry is a halfway house. This is a residential care facility where the children find a safe home. Onesimus has both a boys home and a girls home. For some of the children, this is a place to prepare the children to be reunited with her biological families. Many of the children do not have biological families or they have families who are unwilling to allow the children to return home. For those children, this is the place where the children actually find a long-term home.
Phase Three: Rescuing Entire Families
Phase three is probably the most difficult of all. It is an attempt to rescue entire families from lives of poverty, drug addiction and begging. For the families that they help, many of those families really don’t want to be rescued. The director of Onesimus put it well. He said “the problem of street children is not the problem with the children. It is the problem of families”. Even though this is the most difficult phase, it is also the most rewarding, when these families are transformed.
Onesimus and The Forsaken Children feed 60 children every day in a remote city in Southern Ethiopia. The children have little hope of survival without the daily care given to them.
The Kote Ganate Farm
Kote Ganate means Hidden Garden. It is in extreme Southern Ethiopia and serves the Forsaken Children. This region of Ethiopia is famous for it’s apple production, and one of the farm’s primary crops is apples. The farm has expanded dramatically to include vegetables and fruit of all kinds. The latest project is the poultry side of the farm, which will help the Forsaken Children become more self sufficient and will help train local farmers in poultry production.