Our Work in ethiopia
Over a decade of experience advocating for vulnerable children in Ethiopia has revealed how a lack of resources, poverty, and lack of access to education have perpetuated the cycle of an orphan on a national level. Our commitment to serving children Ethiopia began in 2007 as an accredited adoption agency, and our Ethiopia adoption program united over 600 children with their forever families. When we could no longer ensure an ethical adoption process in Ethiopia, AGCI remained committed to addressing the orphan crisis by preventing the need for adoption in the first place. From the beginning, our holistic approach has stretched beyond the adoption realm, but we have progressively built initiates that work together to address the root causes of poverty and trauma to create lasting change for vulnerable children and families in Ethiopia.
Currently, there are over 4,500,000 orphaned children in Ethiopia, with an estimated 600,000 children living on the streets. As a result of poverty and famine, 44% of children have stunted development due to poor nutrition and just 40% of children complete primary school.
OUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE
In 2021, AGCI expanded our 15 years of life changing work in Ethiopia to launch our second Child Advocacy Center. AGCI’s team on the ground of 24 staff members work in every region of Ethiopia to focus on the following initiatives rooted in our Child Advocacy Model. With this regional center as a hub, it is our goal to:
PREVENT Expand family preservation opportunities by 250 percent through sponsorship and community trainings so that 19,500 children never enter an institution.
PROVIDE Using the House of Hope Model of Care, grow a team of trauma-informed practitioners to implement Empowering Programs at every government institution in Ethiopia to help change the way children in the system are cared for and provide true healing for the most vulnerable children.
PLACE Reunite 90 children each year back into their family of origin while working to identify safe, loving, and permanent placement options for children who are unable to be reunified.
PREPARE Provide vocational training and university scholarships for young adults reintegrating back into family care and aging out of institutions so that 640 children are prepared to successfully transition to independence each year.
POLICY Work alongside the Ethiopian government and Child Welfare System to rewrite laws, provide critical trainings, and change systems for 600,000 vulnerable children.
We prevent children from entering institutions or ending up on the streets by stabilizing and empowering vulnerable families through our sponsorship program. In the last 15 years, AGCI has supported over 1,200 vulnerable children to remain in school while also strengthening families from the inside out. Through a holistic model, our program ensures that families at the brink of disruption receive the resources they need to stay together and break the devastating cycle of poverty. Additionally, throughout the year, children and caregivers are given the opportunity to participate in family strengthening workshops that provide practical skills for building healthy, loving relationships, while our staff works 1-1 with families to offset unexpected financial needs through our savings program.
A recently conducted survey of families in AGCI’s Ethiopia sponsorship program found that…
- Children in our program are 3 times more likely to complete high school than their unsponsored peers.
- 77% of sponsored children live in female headed households, who on average make 86% less than male headed households.
- 86% of families would be in jeopardy of separating without sponsorship.
- 79% of AGCI sponsorship families reported being better equipped to respond to unexpected financial emergencies after joining the program.
- 84% of caregivers attending AGCI family strengthening workshop had never received any type of parent training, and 98% of those who attended reported feeling more confident in their skills as a caregiver after leaving the training.
AGCI provides elevated, family-like care by collaborating with institutions and training parents and caregivers in a trauma-informed approach. To date, we have trained over 3,000 caregivers, law enforcement offers, caregivers, and parents with practical tools using the principles of Trust-Based Relational intervention® (TBRI®).
Additionally, in partnership with the Tim Tebow Foundation, in 2021 AGCI launched the House of Hope, the first trauma-informed reunification home in the entire country. This life-changing home provides a safe place for girls who have been separated from family to live, learn, and find true healing while the staff works to locate and reunite them with parents and caregivers. Through a holistic model rooted in connection and felt-safety, girls who have experienced trauma on the streets or in institutions are provided the loving care and support they need to learn to rebuild secure relationships and heal from stressful experiences.
Reuniting Children with Biological Families
AGCI launched our House of Hope in August of 2021, creating the first trauma-informed reunification home in Ethiopia. In the first year of operations, we have successfully placed 17 young girls back into the loving care of their biological families, while equipping caregivers with the tools needed to prevent further disruption. When reunification is not safe or possible, our team of social workers, psychologists, and care specialists identify permanent placement options while advocating for the best possible outcomes for these children.
We support older children transitioning into independence through both sponsorship and community reintegration. Our programs ensure that vulnerable youth are able to pursue educational opportunities through university and vocational training, empowering them with the tools, confidence, and resources they need to thrive into adulthood.
We are passionate about changing broken systems in order to improve outcomes for millions of children around the world. By establishing strong foundational relationships with various levels of government, we’re able to positively impact children not only today, but for generations to come. AGCI’s Child Advocacy Programs in Ethiopia provide a new model for intervening for children and families rooted in a trauma-informed approach, while also equipping local leaders to scale our proven models to transform thousands of children across the country.
We believe every child, regardless of their circumstances, deserves to find true connection, healing, and love…
When 2-year-old Sifen arrived at Foten, the home AGCI is working with in Ethiopia, she was weak and despondent, still recovering from a surgical error that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Sifen’s health was fragile at best when she received the additional diagnosis of hydrocephalus. Without emergency surgery to drain the fluids around her brain, Sifen had little hope of survival.
And then, something amazing happened—almost overnight, donations and messages of love and hope flooded in. Through His grace and the generosity of AGCI supporters, Sifen’s surgery is now fully funded! Sifen has since undergone life-saving surgery and is happily recovering thanks to the loving, elevated care, nutritious food, and essential therapies provided by dedicated sponsors. This care saved Sifen’s life!