We arrived at The Forsaken Children and I was once again struck by the scope of their ministries to street children. There are 100,000 children living on the streets of Addis Ababa. When I heard that statistic, I was overwhelmed by the desperate need of those kids. But,
the Forsaken Children staff are reaching out to the children of the streets of this great Ethiopian city.
The staff regularly go out onto the streets to develop relationships with the kids. They have a feeding program, and many other touch points with them. Their strategy is to develop trust and a personal relationship with the children. They have been very successful with this because they continue to go out on the streets, week after week, and the children have seen that they are not just going to walk away or disappear.
In addition to outreaches on the streets, they have a drop in center where the children come daily. 25 children regularly attend. The children receive clean clothes, two meals a day, as well as education, life-skills training, and a place of genuine friendship.
The children who are serious about change are then invited to live in the Halfway House. 15 children currently live there.
I was really touched when I heard the story of Little Abel. This boy is about 10 years of age, and has a tragic story. His mother died of AIDS. His father had already abandoned the family by the time his mother died. That left Abel alone with his older sister, who began to care for him. They soon found out that Abel was HIV-positive. The sister then got married and Abel became part of their family. When they delivered their first child, his sister and husband made a tragic decision. They did not want their child to be raised in a home with another child who was HIV-positive. They made Abel leave the house and move onto the streets. Abel has suffered unspeakable loss. He is lost his father, he lost his mother, then finally he lost his sister who was his only remaining source of hope.
Abel met The Forsaken Children. He began coming to their program, and was soon in there halfway house. I was deeply touch when I shook little Abel’s hand. I saw a desperate little 10-year-old boy who had lost all hope, but who found hope again through this wonderful, caring ministry.