Selamta Family Project develops forever families and bright futures for orphaned children, marginalized women and families at-risk of breaking apart in Ethiopia.
More than four million children in Ethiopia have been orphaned by extreme poverty and AIDS in a country with no social safety net. The overwhelming majority are separated from their siblings and abandoned to the streets. Some are placed in orphanages where they routinely encounter violence, predation or abuse.
These children are joined in poverty by millions of displaced women who have lost their husbands and families to AIDS and other poverty related issues.
Selamta is the solution.
Why is Selamta Family Project different?
According to Unicef and other leading organizations for children, stable families are the most successful model for social change and renewal.
We unite orphaned children and marginalized women to create new families - Forever Families. We also come alongside families at-risk of breaking apart to strengthen them through our Outreach Program. Prevention is critical in ending the orphan crisis of Ethiopia. We come alongside these families at their point of crisis, work with them to secure education and employment and help them become stable and self-sufficient.
As our families grow together, they receive educational, psychological, social and developmental support a part of our mission to provide Bright Futures.
Here’s what makes Selamta unique:
Every Forever Family is comprised of a Mother, 8-10 children and a supportive auntie. Some children are biological siblings; others become siblings. They range in age and gender, infants to young adults. All are fiercely loyal brothers and sisters, and share remarkably strong bonds of love and commitment.
Forever Families are integrated into the neighborhood. Selamta keeps Ethiopian children in their own culture, strengthening the fabric of their communities. Our homes are indistinguishable from those of traditional families. This gives our families a sense of normalcy and breaks down the stigma of orphans and HIV in communities proving that all children, if given the chance, can become thriving members of society.
Mothers and aunties of Selamta are given the tools they need to lead their families well. Many of our mothers were previously marginalized by society suffering their own trauma and loss. With a new purpose and supportive resources they become thriving heads of household. They attend ongoing parenting workshops to effectively serve our youth. Topics include: trauma and loss, signs of depression, parenting teens, nutrition and budgeting.
Selamta families accept older children and large sibling groups. We work to reunite siblings who have been separated and bring them together.
Excellent educational opportunities for Bright Futures. Selamta works closely with local private and government schools to see that each child receives an education tailored to meet their needs. Many of our students rank at the top of their classes and perform above standard on national exams.
Important developmental resources and enrichment opportunities make a huge difference. Going beyond the basics, each child has an Individual Development Plan focused on the whole person. From sports and the arts to spiritual development and mental wellness, we know the dreams and aspirations of each child and work with them to reach their goals.
No one ages out at Selamta. Selamta families are not temporary fixes; rather, they are life-long families and will remain so even as the children of Selamta become adults and raise families of their own. Personal independence is determined by readiness, employment and self-sufficiency, not a birthdate.
Transition to independence is a process. Like many traditional families, the paths children can take to achieve personal independence vary dramatically. Whether they are graduating from university or working a trade, we walk with them to make sure their launch from Selamta's financial support system is appropriate and sustainable.
Selamta Families share personal struggles and triumphs. The bonds of love and family developed by Selamta carry well into the future. Family is less about location and a physical structure and more about the people we grow with in life. Our children will always have loved ones to share life's important ups and downs, to cheer them on and lift them up.