A Child in need; A mother indeed, Aberash & Hanna

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Aberash,48, is a mother of two. Her son, Solomon had moved and works as a professional tour guide. Demekech and her adopted daughter Hanna live in Demeka town, Hamer district of the Southern Nations and Nationalities Peoples Region (SNNPR).    

Aberash has had a bad experience with child birth in the past. She lost four children from five pregnancy terms. It had been her long-time wish to have a daughter. About seven months ago, that wish came true as the woreda women’s office and Save the Children's assistance helped her adopt a nine-month-old baby girl. Aberash had been blissfully happy since then as she takes care of her new daughter.

Hanna had a complicated past. When she was nine months old, her parents received a shocking news from the village ritual leaders who labelled little Hanna ‘Mingi’. a local term meaning ‘the cursed child’. This label effectively signed the baby's death warrant as her existence spelled bad luck and total demise to the whole village. However, her parents sought a way out. They gave her up for adoption far away from their village. Now baby Hanna lives a happy life  with her foster mother Aberash far from the wrath of the local clergy who once sought to kill her.

Aberash’s story in her own words (quotes):

My name is Aberash. I have a son and an adopted daughter. My daughter is one and half years old. I always wanted a daughter but i wasn't lucky enough to hear one. So, About two years ago, I approached the woreda women’s affair office and told them of my wish to adopt a foster child. They were very helpful. They invited me into a positive parenting and baby care training that was held by  Save the Children. Upon my successful completion of the training i was informed that I would be notified when a foster child was found. 

I was very glad when this opportunity presented itself. I had lost four children in the past before giving birth to my only son. I often wished that I had a daughter. Hanna came in to my life eight months ago. She's a blessing and a welcome addition to our family. Hanna was a nine month old when I adopted her. Now she has grown up. She is a very charming, active and playful baby. I always Thank God for her. I have enough to live on, I have a small restaurant and a house to rent. Now i have a daughter who completes my life. 

My heart skips with joy as i come from work everyday and i see a smiling Hanna greeting me at the door. It had been so long since my house was filled with the joyous laugh if a child Hanna gives me something to cherish once again. She being in my life gives me such a joy it hardly matters that she was born from other parents. She's my daughter now and she will always be that. 

After the adoption process was completed and Hanna came home, Save the Children provided me with various supports, such as diapers, baby clothes, hygiene kits, baby formula milk and about five thousand Birr for the baby. In addition, the experts from the Save the Children visit and regularly help us with everything we need.  

These days, Hanna is showing a joy for life; she is curious about new things. She likes to try out new things and interact with her environment. When she is old enough, I plan to enrol her in one of the best schools here. In the future I am keeping a good record of Hannah’s past life with photography and a daily diary. We also celebrated her one-year birthday with a photo and video recording. I do this in hopes that she will do her part in the future so that other children do not suffer from this kind of problem.

My wish for my daughter is to grow-up and to go to university be a productive citizen who for the community as well as herself. I will always be by her side in everything she needs. My advice to other people is to reach out to childrenlike Hanna who are at risk and vulnerable to harmful traditional practices. To adopt them and raise them like me, so  we can save the lives of children who can't protect themselves.       

What Save the Children is doing for Hanna and others like her

Save the Children has been implementing a project entitled promote the survival and development of children (boys and girls) at risk or affected by harmful traditional practices(HTP), including victims of Mingi, female genital mutilation, and survivors SGBV, children with disability and those children denied of access to basic education in south Omo zone of Ethiopia, (Dasenech, Gniagatom and Hamer Districts). 

In the last four years, Save the children in partnership with the key government line offices and community structures at grass root level, has been making a relentless effort to reduce the most common traditional harmful practices through a series of public mobilization and awareness-raising programs that is implemented by the project has significantly contributed to the reduction of the practices in the area. 

So far, the project has reached 760 -community members through awareness raising programs in the area and provided livelihood support to 76 families of Mingi surviving children in the area.