Aug 2018

International Youth Day

Posted by Ethiopiaid on Saturday 11th August 2018

Youth are the key to our future; and giving them safe spaces to live, learn and grow is essential. That’s why the annual International Youth Day is so important to us and this year’s focus on Safe Spaces for Youth is particularly close to our hearts.

With partners across Ethiopia, we are working to give youth the safe spaces they need; not just to live, learn and grow; not just for their best chance for a brighter future; but also so they can be part of a confident and resilient generation that can continue to shape and advance society for the better.


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150,000 children live on the streets of Ethiopia

60,000 of these live in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa

50% of homeless youth don’t have access to shelter, adequate food or education

Many find themselves lured into prostitution as a way to survive

71% of woman have experienced physical or sexual violence

Cultural taboos on puberty & menstruation means youth don’t have safe spaces to talk about this natural part of life

Ingrained traditions like female circumcision and child marriage don’t give youth opportunity to question or express their views

Young Ethiopian boy sitting by himself

How are we providing #SafeSpaces4Youth?


REQUIREMENT: Youth must first feel physically protected, and be given the opportunity to live with dignity and in safety.

  • Through partnerships with various organisations in Ethiopia across our global offices, we help provide sanctuaries or safe houses for vulnerable youth who have been forced to live on the street and women who have experienced violence

  • These safe houses provide physical necessities such as shelter, food and medical aid and also protection from violence, abuse and the threat of prostitution

Adolescent girls going to secondary school in Ethiopia


REQUIREMENT: For youth to reach their full potential, they need to have safe spaces to disclose their thoughts, ask questions, discover new interests and learn.

  • Children living in these safe shelters are given the opportunity to enrol in their local school or to take introductory lessons at the shelter in reading, writing and simple maths if they have not yet had the chance to go to school

  • Pop-up street schools operate in different urban areas of northern Ethiopia. The mobile ‘school’ is set up in a public square, offers a free meal for children living on the streets and encourages them to take part in fun, interactive and educational activities – like learning their letters or numbers – to give homeless children a basic education

  • Almost all sanctuaries have counsellors at hand to help youth overcome trauma. Counsellors also help children from rural areas acclimatise to their new urban surroundings and teach them ‘street smart’ skills such as looking after their sexual health, managing puberty and finding sound work

  • Youth are given the opportunity to take part in a sport or hobby. Leisure activities is said to be an essential part of the psychological, cognitive and physical development of young people, plus helps them build their self-esteem and confidence

Ethiopian boy playing hula hoop


REQUIREMENT: Youth need a space to fully express themselves without feeling uncomfortable or unwelcome, firstly with family members and then with wider society.

Background on how youth lack safe spaces for expression in Ethiopia

  • Provide menstrual hygiene kits including re-usable sanitary pads and puberty information packs at schools. A simple but effective solution to give youth the resources they need to understand this natural part of life, plus help encourage conversation so that these topics are no longer seen as taboo or shameful

  • Actively create safe spaces for dialogue in rural communities through trained on the ground workers, such as Women Extension Workers and Safe Motherhood Ambassadors. These workers go out to isolated communities and speak one on one with individuals, families and community leaders about topics like the rights of girls and women and maternal health.

  • Not only do they start talk about these otherwise taboo subjects and share information but they also provide opportunity for youth and the rest of the community to ask questions or ask for help in a safe and supported environment  

Learning on the streets of Ethiopia via mobile school

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International Youth Day

Posted by Francesca Rutherford on Tuesday 16th August 2016

For International Youth Day (12th August) I’d like to tell you a little bit about our partner HOPE Enterprises. HOPE has been transforming the lives of young children in Ethiopia since 1971, ever since Jack and Evangel Smith opened their home, and hearts, to twenty street children offering them basic needs, schooling and skill training. When the Smiths left Ethiopia, local people continued their work and now employ nearly 400 staff and run feeding programmes for up to 4,000 students.

In 2002 Ethiopiaid and HOPE joined forces and since then have worked together to feed and school thousands of street children who are rounded up from doorways, bus stations, and derelict hovels.

One of the kids that Ethiopiaid and HOPE have helped is Tamrat. Tamrat started going to HOPE School when he was 5 years old and thanks to his love of learning, now 18, Tamrat has enrolled in the General Metal and Fabrication Assembly course at HOPE Enterprises. He says that the best part of the course is its high chance of employability and shared that: “For future students I recommend this field of education”.  

Tamrat wants to work in a self-help business group when he completes the two-year course –he has a group of 5 friends who want to do this too. They plan to finance the enterprise by linking with a microfinance scheme.

The challenges facing children who want to go to school are high. 80% of Ethiopian people survive on less than $2 a day, which means there is no money for food, shoes, school books or fees. On average, an educated Ethiopian child will only go to school for 7 years and only 52% will complete primary school (World Bank statistics).

That is why we need your help. Thanks to your support, the ambition of students like Tamrat can be develop.

Help us to reach out to more children and brighten their future!

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