DSC04461Meet Hikama (Beite) and Tigist
We are moving forward!!! In the first week of November, Getachew, Claire and I went out to familiarize ourselves with the plight of girls living on the streets of Hawassa. We started at the Manharia (bus Station) and Claire recognized a girl, Hikama, that she had met the previous week and had been living on the streets for over a year. While we were talking with her another girl, Tigist appeared and, as Getachew was questioning her, we found out that she had been thrown out of the home in which her parents had arranged for her to work that very morning; it is common for parents in the surrounding poor rural villages suffering under severe poverty to make such arrangements. Some police officers agreed to watch the two girls while we went to the Womens and Children’s Affairs Office to inquire how we could help. We talked with the director and found that the standard procedure was to house them in a temporary shelter until a determination could be made to return them to their families or place them in an NGO, if the home is not appropriate. I had heard of children running from the shelter and returning to the dangers of the streets, so after expressing this concern to the director, we received permission to temporarily house them in our home until we could open our new home for girls in January 2014. They came home with us that night and we learned first hand of the challenges and blessings of helping street girls adopt a new life! This is a picture of Hikama and Tigist the first day we accepted them into our home.