Last month in Ethiopia, Tawnya and I (Arnica) had the opportunity to visit several other NGOs (non-governmental organizations, non-profits.) We learned how they ran their programs, shared tips and tricks with each other, and scoped out new potential partners for the future.
The first time I heard about AHOPE was when I read There is No Me Without You many many years ago. Back in the early 2000s, AHOPE was called Enat, and was one of the very few homes for children living with HIV. AHOPE was originally a hospice. Before paediatric ARVs (antiretrovirals) reached Ethiopia, contracting HIV was a death sentence for kids. But after the medication became available to the masses, children starting living longer and longer. AHOPE is not longer a hospice… It’s now a multi-aged care program for children all the way up to young adults.
They have two groups homes, aka orphanages, for younger children and older kids. Then AHOPE also has a residential, graduating program for those kids who are going into future education and job training. They call it their youth transition home. The young people learn skills such as cooking, cleaning, paying bills and earning a living.
On the side, they also have a community outreach program that supports children living with HIV, and living in their own communities with neighbours and extended family. That program is very similar to our own House 2 House program, and it was interesting to see a bit of the inside of the program.
While at AHOPE, Tawnya and I volunteered for an afternoon. We spent an hour in the babies room, and then spent three hours editing update reports for AHOPE’s community kid sponsors. Again, the children profiled were very similar to ours, as we both focus on children living with HIV in extreme poverty.
Thanks for the wonderful visit and the chance to help out in a small way… And also thanks to the director and the operations manager for their hospitality and generous sharing about their programs!
If you’d like to visit AHOPE or learn more about their good work, please visit AHOPE for Children, the American funding raising organization dedicated to supporting the work of AHOPE Ethiopia.
Note: we took some pictures at AHOPE of the facilities (not the children) but the pictures were lost in file transfers. So please check out their Facebook page if you would like to see pictures of Little AHOPE.