We are extremely happy to tell you all that ,the honorable Dr. Abebech Gobena “Africa’s Mother Teresa” awarded us appreciation certificate for exceptional contribution to the ongoing humanitarian support in providing capacity building training for teachers and directors of Abebech Gobena School by Think Africa.
About Dr. Abebech Gobena http://agohelma.org.et/index.php/history
Dr. Abebech Gobena, a prominent humanitarian lady, was born in 1938 in the Showa province, Selale Awaraja in a Small rural village called Shebel. The Italians killed her father during their invasion of Ethiopia when she was one month old. So she grew up in her grandparent’s home until she was nine. She was forced to marry when she was ten. She was not interested in her marriage and she runaway and came to Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia.
Although life in the city was not found simple to Dr. Abebech she didn’t give up. Instead she started to challenge life itself strongly. She was employed in different companies and established a family for the second time. Though, she has not her own child, she was leading a decent family life.
In 1980 she went to Gishen Mariam, a holy church in Wollo province, for pilgrimage. During that time the area was highly stricken by drought caused famine and many people were destabilized from their homes and many were dying. The horrifying incident has disturbed Abebech’s mind. She did not hesitate but started to distribute what she has in her hand.
While distributing Abebech observed a child suckling her dead mother’s breast. She thought that the woman was in a deep sleep and tried to awake her, but later she learned that the women was dead. Her soft heart pierced, she wept very bitterly and took the child from the corpse. She added another orphaned child to bring them home to Addis Ababa. This unfortunate situation in addition to her inherent sympathetic character compelled Abebech to determine her future. She continued to collect more and more children and the number of orphaned children grew to twenty-one by the end of the same year.
The humanitarian activity faced obstacles from the incipient stage. Her husband and other relatives totally rejected her idea and activity. They considered as if she got mad and they advised her to stop.
She had two options, to throw away the children and continue her decent married life or renew her commitment to safeguard the helpless kids and abandon her marriage. Though, it seems challenging Abebech had decided to abandon her marriage and continued the lofty effort that she had started.
She moved to a small poultry house with the children. She made a Medeb (bed made up of mud) to sleep on and feed the children under a tree. It was not easy to support such a big number of children with out any source of income. In order to keep the children alive, Abebech had to sell her personal belongings including her jewelry. She had passed the first six torturous years without despair and continued taking care of the children. To support her meager income she has been engaged in selling petty items like tella, tej, injera and kollo (home made drinks and food).
Abebech’s devotion and relentless effort made her known, and gradually she started to get support from individuals, government and non government organizations. In 1986 the orphanage got registered asBRUH TESFA CHILDREN VILLAGE AND SCHOOL as indigenous NGO under Ethiopian law. Later on it changed its name to Abebech Gobena Orphanage and school and currently called AGOHELMA.
The humanitarian activity that was started in a poultry house by two orphaned children has immensely grown up and involved in many community development activities
How and When It Began
Abebech Gobena Yehetsanat Kebekabena Limat Mahiber (AGOHELMA) is an indigenous non-governmental, non-political and a not for profit charity association founded in 1980 at the time of severe drought that occurred in the northern part of the country. Since then it has performed commendable jobs in the area of orphans and vulnerable children, OVC, for the last three decades.
With the relentless effort of the founder and genuine support of humanitarian organizations and individuals AGOHELMA has made tremendous progress and today:
- has built a capacity to provide institutional care for 120 orphans at a time,
- Is supporting annually more than 14,000 OVC in different programs within the community,
- Is undertaking various child centered community development in its intervention areas namely Addis Ababa, Burayou, North and West Shoa zones of Oromia Regional State,
- With all its program activities in all its intervention areas more than 1.5 million people are annually benefiting.
- Its entire program is guided by a strategic plan in which it has clearly set its Vision, Mission, values and Strategic priority areas.