Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world. More than three-quarters of the population lives on less than $1 per day, largely a consequence of recurring drought in a country heavily reliant on agricultural production. Nearly all Ethiopians are subsistence farmers, and few have the opportunity to pursue goals beyond meeting their family's basic needs.
In the 1980s, the country's Marxist economy, poor harvests and ongoing civil war brought severe famine to millions of people. According to the most recent UNICEF estimate, Ethiopia has 5.7 million orphans – a result of multiple and widespread causes, including a high rate of HIV/AIDs infection.
To meet the needs of orphaned and abandoned children in Ethiopia, Holt established an international adoption program in 2007. While adoption proved a successful way to bring Ethiopia's homeless children into loving, permanent homes, Holt also began exploring ways to keep children in their birth families and their birth culture. In 2008, Holt introduced a family preservation program designed to help struggling Ethiopian families provide for their children.
Holt strives to help families in this program achieve both self-reliance and long-term stability. To that end, Holt provides resources and start-up funds for income-generating projects, such as keeping livestock or small retail, as well as opportunities for vocational training. Once they've achieved food security, reliable income and adequate housing, when their children are attending school and their medical and psychosocial needs are being met, a family is considered stable – and graduates from the program. Holt's family preservation work also includes counseling, food assistance, educational sponsorship and health care.
In 2009, Holt made a broader effort to improve health care for Ethiopia's rural poor with the renovation and expansion of a clinic in Shinshicho, a district capitol. Although our efforts tripled the number of people receiving treatment, the clinic remained ill equipped to provide more advanced treatment, such as surgery and hospitalization. Thanks to support by the Ethiopian government, and the local community's commitment to raise significant matching funds, the clinic was upgraded to a maternal-child health grade hospital in 2010. With additional funding from Holt donors and adoptive parents, the $1.2 million construction project is projected to complete in early 2013.
Support Children and Families in Ethiopia!
Sponsor a child in Ethiopia
When you sponsor a child in Holt’s Ethiopia Family Preservation Program, you also help ease the burden on a struggling family. Your gift will help provide food, shelter, education and medical care, enabling a family to care for their child – and their child to thrive in their family's care. Click here to start sponsoring a child today!
Give a Gift of Hope!
Whether for Christmas or another occasion, giving from Holt's gift catalog is a wonderful way to honor a loved one. Chickens, goats and cows not only nourish growing children, they provide the foundation for a small family business. Or help Holt staff reach remote villages with the gift of a special 100cc motorcycle, in effect doubling the number of children and families we serve in Ethiopia.
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