April 9, 2022
The Vulnerable Children Society often holds fundraising campaigns to meet emergency needs. Over the last few months, we have been raising funds to provide emergency support for one of our in-country NGO partners, Hope for Children, in Ethiopia. These funds will go towards a particular program administered by Hope for Children – the New Life Girls Program.
The New Life Girls Program is very near and dear to our hearts at VCS. Over the past few years, we have seen real and meaningful impact in the lives of young women supported through this program. The New Life Girls Program rescues teen girls in Ethiopia from forced prostitution. The girls are given the choice of career training in hairdressing, food preparation, or sewing, and receive support for housing, food, and basic needs as they learn skills that will enable them to provide for themselves into the future. In addition to skills development, the girls are given life skills training, mentorship, counselling,and a chance at a new life.
COVID-19 has heavily impacted people in Ethiopia, and women and girls in particular. Before the pandemic, more than 1.2 million children in Ethiopia, or nearly 30 per cent, were monetarily poor, living in households that lacked the minimum financial resources necessary for survival. COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the poorer community, forcing many more families into extreme poverty. Social distancing and sanitation have been huge challenges, and the cost of basic needs, including food, has risen dramatically. The government has been the primary assistance provider during the pandemic, however, the government has reached only 13 percent of households, with food assistance alone.
On top of the hardships created by COVID, on November 2, 2021, the Ethiopian government announced a nationwide state of emergency, due to increasing unrest in the Tigray region. The conflict has made an already precarious situation even more dire, plunging approximately 400,000 people in Tigray into famine and forcing more than 2.5 million people in the north to flee their homes. There is a massive population of internally displaced persons in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.
These crises have caused a significant escalation in the prices of basic needs, including food, sanitation products and first aid supplies. Hope for Children faces extreme shortages on supplies, including emergency food needs. This need led us to begin a campaign to raise funds to help ensure Hope for Children can continue to meet the basic needs of the young women it serves through the New Life Girls program.
Hope for Children in Ethiopia is a long-time partner of the Vulnerable Children Society. Hope for Children in Ethiopia was started in 2001 by a group of 10 teenage boys. This unique group of friends began to understand the large problem of homelessness in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa. They began spending time with street children, providing them with food and clothing. Overtime, Hope for Children expanded from its core support system for homeless children to assisting those who were in forced labor, sex slavery, or were homeless, providing prevention programs and helping entire communities across the countryside of Ethiopia.
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