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Meklit Integrated Children and Women


The Background


The Meklit Centre has been established to support Children and mothers that are living in poverty in the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. The project was born after the founders encountered a tearful and heart-rending experience of a two year-old girl. This little child used to live in poverty with her poor parents and three siblings in a small unhygienic room in a very central neighbourhood of the city, Megenagna. The prevalent malnutrition the household experienced for prolonged periods revealed the depth of poverty this family faced. That was also the reason behind the little girl’s deteriorating health condition.

During one of the founders visit, this little child was sleeping sick with the flu and seeing the severity of her condition, she was immediately taken to a nearby hospital. However, because her immune system was dangerously affected by malnutrition she was unable to recover. She finally passed away after just three days of medical care, leaving this world and her unseen future behind her at such a young age. The loss of her life awakened the  witnesses to the vastness and depth of poverty in the city. This little child’s name was Meklit and yet her story is not singular.

There are still many children in Addis Ababa who are deprived from proper care and provision of basic necessities including food, clothing, shelter, health care services, education and in some cases, love and affection. According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs 150,000 children are living on the streets in different parts of the country, approximately 60,000 of whom are found in Addis Ababa. Within Ethiopia, 5.5 million children are categorised as orphans or vulnerable children. The need for such projects in the city and overall in the country is prevalent. It is for this reason that Meklit Children and Women Development Association exists.

The Project
Since its inception in 2013, the Meklit Centre has structured and expanded its services to assist 16 children between the ages of 3 to 14 and 13 mothers. The children receive holistic care including nutritional, educational, medical support and above all abundant love. The centre also provides training programs to empower the mothers.

Programs provided at the Meklit Centre

  • Nutritional meals three times a day between Monday to Saturday
  • 70%-100% of medical expenses covered
  • Shower room for hygiene
  • New clothes on quarterly basis
  • All children sent to a local private school to receive better education.
  • All educational fees covered (School fee, educational material, uniforms…)
  • An after school tutoring program during the school year
  • Summer camp programs including recreational sports activities
  • Educational and technology training
  • Regular training for mothers (behavioural, parenting, financial and vocational)

The Meklit Centre exists to be a vessel for all those who enter our door. Our ultimate goal is to empower each and every one of the young children and mothers by providing the resources needed to maintain a sustainable lifestyle.

About the project lead member 

My name is Nazrawit Negash and I am the lead member of Meklit Integrated children and women development project. I have been involved in this project for three years and have had the privilege to work with an amazing team. I have always had the desire to work on a project in Ethiopia that impacts the lives of marginalized individuals. After I finished my studies, I traveled back and forth to Ethiopia to work with different local organisations. Meanwhile, one of the founders of the Meklit Centre, Selam Addane, approached me with the idea of working on this project.

After many thoughts and prayers, I decided to take the offer to travel back to Ethiopia and meet the founder and the visionary of the organisation, Ermias Zeleke. Although the project was not recognized, those involved were voluntarily and diligently working to better the lives of the children and mothers. Walking into the centre and receiving the abundant love of these children who are facing difficulties beyond their age and watching the love that was being poured out to them by the team was astonishing. The hearts of the children and each and every individual involved won me over. I knew then that we had to do whatever it took to change the lives of these children and their families; including the lives of those that have not yet been reached.

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for
others.” 1 John 3:16