Fenete Amha Idirs Pre-School was opened in 2007 in one of the very poorest districts of Addis Ababa deep within the Mercato (large market) district of central Addis. When I visited the school, I had to be escorted on foot through narrow passageways and cobbled roads, because there is no way you can describe how to get to the school once you leave the main road! The area is densely populated and living conditions are cramped. This school is unique in that members of this poor community have banded together to fund this school for HIV/AIDS children including orphans.
IDIR in Amharic refers to a social gathering when someone within the community dies and to share the costs communally. The escalating number of deaths from HIV and AIDS which is pandemic in Mercato, led traditional IDIRS to take measures to help the desparate plight of the children affected by this disease or and/or orphaned from it. Two IDIRS within the Mercato, FENETE and AMHA have banded together to form a small school for needy children.
Volunteers provide the basic education and the Kebele (local government) of the district has donated two rooms for this use. Currently up to 600 children are cared for in this facility in shifts.
The plight of HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia is statistically tragic with 13% of children in Ethiopia having lost one or both parents to the disease.
Run soley by local volunteers, Fenote Amha Idirs School is run with extremely meagre resources but they are doing the best they can by helping vulnerable children who otherwise might be forced onto the street for a life of depravation and poverty with noone to look out for them.
This school needs all kinds of help – financial aid, educational supplies, clothing, toys, volunteers. The school urgently needs funds to rent a larger space to accomomodate more children – there are at least 50 children waiting to join.