Image: Our Learning & Care Center kindergarten class of March 2015.
GTLI began its Orphans and Vulnerable Children Project in 2012 to care for orphaned and abandoned Hamar children, with the long-term goal of educating the children and reintegrating them into their tribal community.
We work with local government officials, including police and extension workers, to identify children who are at risk. We began with 5 children from the Hamar Tribe, and we now care for 12 children in 2 Learning and Care Centers, one in Wonga Bayno and one in Turmi.
The indigenous tribes of southwest Ethiopia are in a downward spiral of poverty and destitution caused by increasing drought and reduction of grazing area.The impact is greatest on the most vulnerable, children who are orphaned by the death of their parents or abandonment. Orphaned and abandoned children face malnutrition, disease, and early death.
We provide a safe, loving environment for children to live and learn, with facilities and trained staff who can help them develop skills and gain self-confidence. We build on the trust and the collaborative relationship we have with tribal leaders to encourage them to adopt new behaviors, including welcoming abandoned children back into their tribal families.
Our Learning & Care Center in the community of Wonga Bayno, South Omo Zone is staffed by a cook, a caregiver, a kindergarten teacher and 2 camp guards/assistants to care for 8 children.
A second Learning & Care Center in Turmi allows 4 older children to attend grade school, not yet available in remote Wonga Bayno.
Bringing the children to Wonga Bayno has brought unexpected good fortune to the entire community. To provide a learning environment for our children, we established a kindergarten and encouraged community children to participate, too. This is the first school in the community, and it provides a direct way to integrate the orphaned children with their adoptive community.
Our success attracted attention, and the Ethiopian government asked us to transform our little school into a full primary school by adding an additional grade each year. This is a win-win proposition for GTLI’s family of children and for the Wonga Bayno community children, who will be able to attend school in their community for the first time.
|# Orphans cared for||0||12|
|# Children attending school in Wonga Bayno||0||15|