Addis Ababa launches trust fund to rehabilitate street children

Spearhead by Deputy Mayor Takele Umma, Addis Ababa City Administration launches a trust fund that will be used for the rehabilitation of the city’s street children.

In recent years it has become common to observe street children in major cities of Ethiopia, mainly in Addis Ababa. The new trust fund of the city plans to take into rehab centers at least 5,000 street children at a time.

The Administration has allocated a seed money of 100 million birr (around $3.6 million) from its budget and will have six rehab centers, according to Deputy Mayor Takele Umma.

Currently it is estimated that in Addis Ababa there are over 60,000 people live on the street mostly children. Most of these kids are reportedly exposed to various health related problems such as, addictions and crimes such as rape.

Some 13 years ago the labour and social affairs ministry of Ethiopia estimated that some 150,000 children live on the streets in Ethiopia, though some argue that the government’s estimate is conservative.

Aid agencies estimate that the problem may be far more serious, with nearly 600,000 street children country-wide and over 100,000 in Addis Ababa. Reports show that over one million children in Ethiopia are already orphaned because of HIV/AIDS.

The trust fund also plans to secure funding from multiple sources including SMS messaging and other means of fund raising.

Tewodros Kassahun, aka Teddy Afro, Ethiopia’s famous singer who also attended the launching ceremony of the trust fund on Saturday, indicated that he will soon organize a music concert to raise fund for the program.

Since Mayor Takele Umma has take office about seven moths ago, Addis Ababa City Administration has been showing compassion to address some of the burdens of  the lower income population of the city.

Following the reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s call, a few months ago Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund was launched. The Fund aims to collect at least one dollar a day from every Ethiopian in the diaspora.

The money is planned to be used for the projects that aim to fund the people who have no access to basic services, mainly in the rural areas. It is estimated that there are close to three millions Ethiopians in the diaspora of which the majority are in North America, Europe and South Africa.