I can't believe that I only have a handful of these left to write. Time has flown! I can say that it's been a wonderful process, though. I've loved learning more about the regions where my Compassion kids live. It really is like taking a step into their worlds. I wish I could see these places in person, of course. But, don't we all?
Today, we travel to another region of Ethiopia. This region is called Oromia and it covers a large area of the country. You can see this region colored in green:
I have one child in this area of Ethiopia. Elias lives outside the city of Dire Dawa, which can be seen in the Northeast portion of the green area on the map.
The children that Compassion serves in this region live mostly in large slums outside of big cities. Many of the families living here used to live in rural areas, but migrated to the cities in search of work. Sadly, without a good education, work is even harder to come by in the cities than in the country. Families have no choice but to settle in the slums. Here, homes are made out of scrap materials. Homes are built, basically, on top of each other. These close quarters often become breeding grounds for diseases.
With modern, high-tech cities so nearby, it's hard to imagine how life is so primitive in the slums. People here don't have electricity, running water, indoor plumbing, or cars to travel with. Adults travel by bike or by cart, often many miles a day, in search of work to earn a meager salary.
While parents are off searching for work, young children that aren't old enough to attend school are left to fend for themselves. They often wander around, in dangerous situations or play with other children that were left alone. These children are often too young to feed themselves and don't eat until their parents return at the end of the day.
Compassion in this area is focused on giving children a better chance at life, from a very young age. Children are provided with a safe place to spend time, while their parents are away. Children are also provided with clothing and shoes, if they need it. Being barefoot is one of the leading causes of danger for the children here. Walking through pollution, metal, etc can be very harmful for children. Compassion values the safety of these children!
Compassion also makes sure that every one of their registered children is enrolled in school. School enrollment has been a problem in this region, in the past, as it is sometimes too expensive for poor families. In these cases, Compassion provides children with school fees, uniforms, school supplies, and extra tutoring, when it's needed.
Another issues, regarding education in this area is the high drop-out rate among secondary school students. Some students lose interest in school, some are lured by gangs, and others drop-out to find work to help support their family. To help combat this, Compassion projects offer vocational training in various subjects; such as woodworking, sewing, metal work, jewelry making, and more. These skills can then be used to help young men and woman earn a higher salary and have a good skill for their future lives.
Compassion Oromia have the following prayer requests for their projects:
- Pray for children to develop the spiritual and emotional strength they need to avoid making bad decisions.
- Pray for Ethiopia as a whole as Compassion fights to break the yoke of poverty throughout the country.
- Pray that parents will be positive role models for their children and will have the wisdom to protect them from negative influences.
(Don't you love his little, peeking eye?)