If you asked any of my family, they'd say I'm a bit of a scrooge when it comes to Christmas. When my daughters were younger I loved it. Sharing their joy and expectation. The advent calendar being robbed each day. The yearly visits to Santa. The Panto. The Christmas Day service at church. But now I find it all a bit overwhelming. Too much of everything! So much preparation needed for one day of celebration.
Leila has eight children. Only four attend school. Her oldest son dropped out before he finished primary school because the family needed money. Leila doesn't mind, she never went to school herself so she doesn't really see the value in education. They live from day to day, dependent on whatever they can grow or the chickens they rear. The children’s income from casual labour, and their help in the fields, feels more important than learning.
Ethiopia is home to 41 million children. Even pre-Covid, a massive 36 million were estimated by the UN to be 'multidimensionally poor'. That's a staggering 88% of Ethiopian children living in dire poverty; not just financially insecure, but with inadequate access to vital long-term services like housing, sanitation and education.
Eight year-old *Marvin is one of the children benefitting from our Rukungiri disability project. Marvin has cerebral palsy, and walking long distances is a challenge. His parents work as casual labourers and struggle to earn enough for basic needs. The whole family of two adults and four children live in a single room.