Area: 935,183 square miles (~25% of the USA)
Population: 93.8 million
Capital: Addis Ababa
Length of Dorcas’ work: since 1989
Sectors of work:
-Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH)
-Social care (including Elder care)
Thirty percent of the population of Ethiopia lives below the poverty line. About 50% of the men between the ages of 15 to 30 years in the city are unemployed. Amongst youth and women this percentage is even higher. 58% of the population has access to clean water, however, 55% does not have access to health care. 2.4% of the population lives with HIV/AIDS and in the country there are roughly 800,000 AIDS orphans.
Ethiopia is the first African country where Dorcas began their outreach to the poor by offering food containers for people affected by the famine, as well as building and renovating houses in the slums in Addis Ababa. Dorcas also ran an orphanage there, which housed three hundred orphans. These children received vocational training in order to find jobs and a place in society. Currently Dorcas supports local projects related to water, sanitation and hygiene, health as well as several adoption programs. In Awasa, Dorcas runs a large training and employment program. Dorcas also invests in the growth and development of the local partner organizations with whom they do work.
Dorcas remains active in Ethiopia. The location of the Dorcas projects is being moved and expanded to Amhara, because the food scarcity and unemployment are very high there. Dorcas continues to focus on supporting projects mainly in the sphere of health care, the sustainable economic development of families, water, sanitation and hygiene. In addition, Dorcas manages adoption programs for children and elderly people.
According to the official figures, 90% of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, consists of slums. The city’s population is over 3 million and is still rapidly growing. The unemployment rate is extremely high and the living conditions in big parts of the slums are truly degrading. People are living in over-populated houses made of mud, scrap wood and metal sheets. There are no sanitary facilities, and not much water and food. The situation is especially hopeless for the old and vulnerable. There is no financial support for most old people in Ethiopia. It is only when a person has worked for the government that he receives a very small pension.
Dorcas has joined forces with MuluWongel Believers Church to set up a sponsorship program for these needy people in Addis. Due to their age, and often handicaps, most of the grannies are not able to earn an income by themselves. They have no one who helps them. This sponsorship program provides for basic needs: clothes, food, blankets, medical care, and personal care items (like soap).
More than that though, social activities are provided for grannies. For example, Dorcas hosts a coffee social for grannies to come together and share their thoughts, experiences and problems. Currently, the coffee is held three time a week. During this time the female grannies enjoy cotton spinning and serving coffee. Male grannies play different games indoors. Sometimes shows spiritual films, songs and the social workers witness about the gospel.
Home visit as one of the project components is normally conducted by project social workers and by the committee of the grannies. Basically the home visit helps to see the living conditions of the grannies and enables us to understand and share their problems at home. Moreover, for those grannies that are in bed or who are not able to come to the social gatherings, this is the best chance to give them help, love and care.
In addition to caring for the older people, the project also trains the community, in order to ensure that the young people will take their full responsibility of looking after their elderly parents.