Transforming lives in Ethiopia

SCWOP – Helping to restore dignity and security to the elderly

Reading time: 2 min

Our partner, Support for Children, Women and Older People (SCWOP) support some of the most impoverished and vulnerable elders in Addis Ababa. Each month SCWOP provide 1,071 elders with a monthly welfare payment. This payment is crucial as it is the only means of buying food, clothing and basic medication.

In addition to a monthly pension, SCWOP provides extra support to grandparents caring for 300 of their orphaned grandchildren. These additional payments mean grandparents can buy food, school uniforms, exercise books and access medical treatment for the whole family. A further 15 children also received social worker support and had their school fees and transport costs paid.

Sadly in Ethiopia, there are five and a half million children, around 12% of the total child population, that are orphans or vulnerable children. This is due to many factors that include poverty, disease, malnutrition, accident, armed conflict, recurrent drought and food shortages.

Unfortunately, this tragedy happened to 74-year-old Woltemariam. Shortly after the death of her husband, Woltemariam’s daughter was hit by a car, leaving her with life-changing disabilities. Suddenly, Woltemariam found herself caring not only for her disabled daughter but also 11-year-old granddaughter and 10-year-old grandson.

With no income of her own, Woltemariam and her grandchildren were forced to beg on the streets, and could only afford one meal a day.

Ethiopia has over 4 million people over the age of 60. Without the availability of a state pension, the only way to survive for many is to live and beg on the streets. Many elders have to survive on just 23p a day.

When Woltemariam heard about SCWOP’s work she contacted the charity for help.

SCWOP were able to provide a monthly pension for Woltemariam, medical care for the whole family and additional financial support for her grandchildren. Now, the future for her family is looking more stable. Woltemariam’s grandchildren have returned to school and their grandmother has been able to make their lives a little more comfortable.   

Elderly people are one of the most marginalised and forgotten groups Ethiopiaid works with.

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