The genocidal war waged by the Ethiopian government and its allies on Tigray has led to severe social, economic, and infrastructural devastation including displacement of millions of people, separation of families, and the increased number of orphaned children. According to a recent UNICEF estimate “At least 33,000 children in … Tigray, are severely malnourished and face imminent death without immediate help.”
Very likely many of these children have lost their parents. There is a need for focused intervention to support these orphans and homeless children of Tigray. The mission of this project is to provide shelter, food, medical care, and education to orphans in Denver’s Sister City of Axum which was a site of the massacre of hundreds of men, women, and children in November 2020, with the eventual possibility of upscaling to other parts of Tigray.
The orphaned children in Axum don’t know where they will get their daily food and often sleep in the streets. A few may be sheltered with relatives. The is no organized response to solve the problem of orphans in Axum. The daily needs of the orphans are met through begging in the streets which is a challenge under the current shortage of food. The children may also be abused and there is a need for intervention to solve this social problem.
Our initial intervention is to conduct a quick survey to identify the extent of the orphan problem. The project will provide shelter, education, and access to health care to 100 orphans a year in the city of Axum. The project will start with rented space but eventually, construct a building in collaboration with the local government that will give us free land. The kids will study in the local public schools but will get mentored by volunteers from the education community. The orphanage will be managed by a board of directors representing various stakeholders. The orphans will be supported until they finish high school or any vocational training.
The project will make the orphans contributors of useful manpower to society. The project will eventually be upscaled to other regions of Tigray. The support of orphans with good nutrition, education, and socialization means they will contribute to social development.