Ethiopia is the oldest, independent country in all of Africa. It is one of the oldest countries in the world. The country has seen great hardships because of devastating famines and droughts, significant wars and political unrest. This has culminated in massive poverty and has crippled the economy. Although, Ethiopia is only about the size of Texas, it is the second most populated country in Africa. Sadly, it has one of the highest numbers of orphaned children in the continent.
Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia. It is a beautiful and striking juxtaposition of ancient and modern. It is a unique city where vehicles and cattle simultaneously can be seen sharing the road. Addis boasts the largest open air market, The Mercato, in the world. Numerous historical churches and museums can also be found inside of the city. Almost 4 million people call Addis Ababa home, and of the 4 million the most recent statistics state that 150 thousand of them are children living on the streets.
We believe that numbers and statistics can begin to open our eyes, however, it was not until these numbers sat in our laps and held our hands as flesh and blood people that we really understood the need. While we share these statistics, please understand that every number represents a person with a name and a soul – a person created in the image of God. When God looks down on people, He sees His beloved children, His finest creation; He knows each one by name not by number.
- 1 out of every 10 children will die before ever reaching their first birthday.
- 1 out of every 6 children never make it until their sixth birthday.
- 20% of all infants are born at a severely low birth weight.
- 60% of children experience stunted growth due to malnutrition (malnutrition is the underlying cause of more than half of all child deaths).
- 1 out of every 5 women die giving birth.
- 44% of the population is under 15 years old.
- The median age is 17 years old.
- The average life expectancy is 55 years.
- 50% of children will never attend school.
- 88% will never attend secondary school.
- Over 1 million Ethiopians are infected with AIDS.
- 720,000 children have been orphaned because of AIDS.
- 47% of the population lives below the poverty rate.