14 September 2011
Sister Lutgarda with Abel and Helen at Kidane Mehret Children’s Home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (photo: Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)
During her time with CNEWA, Sister Christian Molidor often provided personal and informative stories for our magazine. In the story Every Child Has a Name, she wrote of her experience visiting the Kidane Mehret Children’s Home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — a child-care facility enrolled in CNEWA’s Needy Child Sponsorship Program.
If Kidane Mehret did not exist, chances are many of the children would have been aborted or died from exposure. The Franciscan Sisters receive what the government considers “reject children.”
My first visit to Kidane Mehret was to gain an overview of the orphanage and its children. Besides caring for 90 children, the sisters also provide meals twice a week for more than 150 displaced persons from the surrounding area, mostly women and children. Many of the displaced women reciprocate, working in the kitchen, preparing food and serving.
How do the children come to Kidane Mehret? They are often illegitimate. In Ethiopia, the shame of bearing an illegitimate child remains strong. Many children are just left at the gate of the orphanage. Sister Lutgarda told me about a small, very ill boy who was thrown over the fence into the garden. When the gardener went to work the next morning, his first thought was to scold the children for throwing their clothes in the garden. Then the tiny boy started to cry. He was taken into the orphanage. After much difficulty, Sister Lutgarda received government certification for the boy — without such certification, he cannot be adopted.
For more about the Kidane Mehret Children’s Home in Ethiopia check out the September/October 2001 issue of the magazine.
Tags: Ethiopia Sisters Africa Orphans/Orphanages