Last Updated: 24/09/2020

COVID-19 continues to spread in Ethiopia, with the number of confirmed cases exceeding 70,000 and deaths reaching 1,127 as of Sept. 23. The government has ordered 1.5 million coronavirus test kits from a Chinese-owned factory in Ethiopia. The ministry of health has recommended that schools be reopened, partly to stem the rise of sexual harassment and early marriage. No date has been set, but the government is preparing to clean public schools and provide masks, sanitizers and hand-washing facilities in all public schools. There is an ongoing discussion on how to safely reopen higher education institutions as well.

All Compassion child development centers have paused group activities, meetings and training. Partner church staff members in Ethiopia have distributed 431,964 food packs and 306,744 hygiene kits and have provided medical support to 18,857 individuals. Center workers are diligently checking on children and looking for signs of abuse. Additionally, staff has ensured that 526 centers across the nation have working hand-washing facilities for children, families and the community to access. Recently, flooding has affected parts of the country, and Compassion Ethiopia staff members are visiting affected church partners to offer assistance.

A Message From Compassion Ethiopia’s National Director

Hear from Tsehaywota Taddesse, National Director of Compassion Ethiopia, as he shares an update on how COVID-19 is affecting Compassion’s ministry in Ethiopia.

Updated: 20/08/2020

How is Compassion Currently Operating in Ethiopia?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Ethiopia, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that even if centers are closed and letters and gifts are not being delivered, your child and his or her family are being checked in on regularly by staff. We all look forward to the day we will all be able to gather together again!

Are Compassion Centers Open?

Currently, all centers in Ethiopia are closed in order to abide by local guidelines. Staff members are working to create virtual programming activity, including videos and livestreams. They continue to call and check in on families, and in some communities they are able to visit children while obeying social distancing guidelines. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute 431,964 food packs and 306,744 hygiene kits to children and their families!

Are Children Receiving Letters?

The majority of letters are delayed in Ethiopia, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

Are Gifts Being Delivered?

Gifts continue to be distributed in Ethiopia, although they are currently delayed. In some communities, staff members have needed to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will be notified whether a gift has been designated as a child gift or family gift. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognizing that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

Story From the Field

When staff from Kidist’s Compassion center came to visit her, she was confused when they handed her a list of radio stations. With no internet, television or radio in her home, Kidist had been cut off from the outside world since the pandemic forced everyone home.

The 17-year-old had no idea that the government was transmitting daily school lessons over radio and television while schools were closed. She felt discouraged that she had no way of keeping up. And while some of her neighbors had radios, Kidist knew staying at home was the safest option.

When he heard of her plight, Dejene, the director of Kidist’s Compassion center, sprang to action to help her and seven other children in the program who lacked the technology to do their lessons. He used Compassion funds to purchase radios for each of them.

“The number might seem small, but for me even one child with no access to education is significant,” Dejene says. “More than the provision, I wanted them to understand that they are our priority and that we care. I wanted to take away the feeling of inadequacy. … I wanted them to really understand that they are not alone.”

“The only gateway for us out of poverty is our education,” says Kidist. “If that is compromised, then our dream also vanishes. When I brought the radio home from the center, my mother was as excited as I was. I felt like there was nothing the church won’t do to help me realize my dream.”

How can I pray for Ethiopia?

Pray for expectant mothers in Ethiopia, as they face a lack of medical services because of the pandemic. Pray for health for their unborn babies and safety as they deliver.

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