Belynish stands proudly in the doorway of her house and outdoor kitchen that God has provided. Not long ago she was homeless with her two boys, Dawite (10) and Benyam (8). But now she and the boys have shelter, and a place to sleep, cook, and eat, including electricity. It is common practice for developers in Addis Ababa to allow people to live on construction sites in exchange for supervision of the site. Belynish feels extremely blessed to now live on such a site. Belynish speaks softly as she tells her story to the Home Based Care (HBC) coordinator from the Lafto Kale Heywett Church (KHC). Belynish is from the Gurage tribe and grew up in the countryside. Her family is very poor and uneducated. She was young when her first husband left her and their son, Dawite. Soon after, she met another man who wanted to be her husband. However, his family did not like her. He left her when she was eight months pregnant with her second son, Benyam. Her attempts to bring Benyam to his father were met with rejection and despair. The final blow came when the grandmother threatened to kill the baby if she came again. Belynish fled to Addis Ababa with her two babies in hope of finding work, seeking a better life.
However, life in Addis Ababa is very hard. There is very little work. Belynish became overwhelmed with caring for both children. Belynish learned of a non-government organization that helps poor families by taking in children and caring for them. Fearing for Benyam’s life, she left him there when he was four years old. He was fed, cared for, and clothed, but it was a very hard to be separated. After two years, tt was too much. Belynish said, “Better to suffer together rather than to suffer apart.” When Belynish went to bring Benyam home, the organization did not support her decision and withheld his belongings. That was two years ago. She grieves deeply because Benyam returned a different child. He struggles with his behavior and emotions; he is sad and fearful much of the time. And his brother, Dawite, worries constantly. Belynish’s greatest burden is “for my children to grow up and have a future.”
This family is part of the Lafto KHC HBC program supported by World Orphans. Benyam attends their free preschool, and his brother is now is in Grade Two. This family also receives food and counseling support through regular visits from the church.
Lafto KHC and World Orphans are praying for a US church to join in partnership in this good work. Meanwhile, the local church is not deterred from serving and reaching out to the very needy people within their community.