While this Sunday marks the celebration of Mother’s Day in America, let us not forget the many children who are left motherless in Ethiopia. The number of children left behind due to the AIDS epidemic in Ethiopia is increasing at alarming rates. A joint survey by the nation’s Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and UNICEF revealed that by the year 2010, the percentage of AIDS orphans in Ethiopia will reach 43 percent, or 2.2 million, of all orphans in the country.
“Every Ethiopian has the duty of assisting these children as much as they can.”
Concentric Media is a nonprofit documentary film production company located in Menlo Park, California. Its documentary productions include Who’s Children Are They Now? AIDS Orphans in Ethiopia. This 20-minute documentary, Directed by Dorothy Fadiman, explores the impact of AIDS on orphans in Ethiopia. It is part of a series of documentary films about courageous efforts underway in Ethiopia to break the silence and lift the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS called SEEDS of HOPE.
As Haregewoine Tefera, Group Home for Orphans, eloquently states in this stirring documentary, “No one can live for himself alone. We live for others…I want to see these children grow and become someone. This is my purpose.” Let us ask ourselves, the Ethiopian-Americans lucky to call the land of the free our home, what is our purpose? Perhaps Dr. Abrham Asnake, AIDS Orphan Advocate, put it best “Every Ethiopian has the duty of assisting these children as much as they can.” If we all had that same inclination, then maybe we can begin to patch up all the tears and wares left in the hearts of the countless children who are left alone to fend for themselves. After all, they are our children, aren’t they?
Apart from the AIDS epidemic causing children to become orphans, the present condition in Ethiopia is one of the worst in the world for mother and child.
In a recent study by Save the Children, Ethiopia was ranked in the bottom 10 of the worst countries to be a mother and a child. As stated on Save the Children’s website, conditions for mothers and their children in countries at the bottom of the Index are grim. On average, 1 in 13 mothers will die in her lifetime from pregnancy-related causes. Nearly 1 in 5 children dies before her fifth birthday, and more than 1 in 3 children suffers from malnutrition. About 50 percent of the population lacks access to safe water, and only 3 girls for every 4 boys are enrolled in primary school.
Mother’s Day should be a day of reflection and appreciation for that special woman who makes miracles happen 365 days of the year. However, it should not pass without thoughts of these children who are living without a parent to look after them.
For more information on Concentric Media, visit www.concentricmedia.org.