O'Donnell Committed to Street-Children Project in Addis Ababa
The Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Liz O'Donnell T.D., has promised continued Government support for a GOAL project which provides a lifeline to hundreds of street-children in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
After visiting the project's drop-in centre today, Minister O'Donnell said the GOAL initiative was helping to bring some hope to the lives of children who were victims of "disease, desertion and destitution".
"There's an estimated 40,000 street-children in Addis Ababa and a quarter of those are considered particularly difficult cases. The GOAL drop-in centre provides over 500 of them with medical treatment, an informal education, the opportunity to develop skills, and an outlet for recreation. In addition, GOAL operates four nightly shelters around the city which provide succour to 100 children on a nightly basis.
"Over the next few months they hope to open another drop-in centre, and three more night shelters. The Government has funded this project from the start and will continue to support what has turned out to be a very successful project for the children concerned," Minister O'Donnell added.
She paid tribute to GOAL Ethiopia Field Director, Roland Sims, for his efforts and those of all his colleagues.
"GOAL has been leading by example since 1993 with its service for street-children. Now UNICEF and the Ethiopian Government have expressed their interest in developing the projects further. In many ways, these street-children roaming the streets of Addis Ababa are the forgotten people, left to fend for themselves through being orphaned, or physically and sexually abused or abandoned. They need all the help they can get," she said.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) Minister O'Donnell travels to the Wollita region where a serious threat of famine exists. Concern has a feeding programme there.