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Cablegate: Ethiopia: Girls Leaving Orphanages: A Vulnerable

VZCZCXRO3253
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHDS #2472 2191021
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071021Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7348
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 002472

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/E, DRL:SJOSEPH, G/TIP:RYOUSEY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM ECON ELAB ET KWMN SOCI
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: GIRLS LEAVING ORPHANAGES: A VULNERABLE
POPULATION

1. SUMMARY: A conversation with girls in a government-run
children's home in Addis Ababa indicates limited economic
options exist for this vulnerable population. Government
support after age 18 is minimal, and the girls are not
prepared for an independent life. One of the potential
livelihoods mentioned, moving to an Arab country to work as a
domestic, is particularly worrisome in light of Ethiopia's
Tier 2 trafficking in persons status. END SUMMARY.

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TIME RUNNING OUT-- NO PLACE TO GO
---------------------------------

2. Econoff met with the director and a group of residents of
the Kechene Children's Home in Addis Ababa. Kechene is a
GOE-run home that houses approximately 165 children from
infancy through age 18, most of whom are girls. At age 18,
children must leave the shelter. The director stated that
there are GOE-sponsored &re-integration8 programs for
children approaching 18. Nearly all children who &age out8
are female, so the programs are geared towards occupations
traditionally held by women in Ethiopia such as hairdressing
and cooking. In addition to re-integration training, the
children receive a lump sum of 4,400 birr (about USD 487)
from the GOE upon exiting the home.

3. The director stated that 32 children aged out of Kechene
in 2006, and 26 (all girls) will age out in 2007. When asked
how well the current program served the girls, he said that
there were several problems. First, the re-integration
program focused solely on vocational skills, not life-skills
training such as personal finance, job-hunting or household
management. Because of the institutional nature of Kechene,
the director stated that the children do not learn basics
such as shopping, budgeting, or cooking. He said the lack of
financial knowledge leads to the children squandering the
cash they receive from the government. The director also
said that an additional problem is a complete lack of
follow-up from the GOE after children exit the shelter.

----------------------------------
&MAYBE I'LL GO TO AN ARAB COUNTRY8
----------------------------------

4. When asked what they planned to do after leaving Kechene,
few of the female residents aged 14-18 had formed any plans.
One girl stated that because of their lack of education, they
would be dependent on men either as a wife or a girlfriend.
Another stated that, although she would prefer to stay in
Ethiopia, she was considering going to an Arab country to
work. Several others agreed with her that this was their
best option economically, although they did not know details
of the process to migrate legally.

5. Almost none of the girls leaving Kechene complete 12th
grade. When asked why they were no longer in school, all the
girls who answered indicated they had not scored high enough
on government-administered exams to continue and that they
lacked money for matriculation fees at private schools.
(NOTE: Ethiopia's public education system requires an exam at
the 10th grade level. Only those students scoring high
enough may remain in government schools for additional free
education. Fees at private vocational/technical schools are
about 200 birr, or USD 22, per month. END NOTE.)

6. Lack of education and eagerness to migrate (legally or
illegally) to Arab countries presents a trafficking concern.
As the 2007 TIP report states: 8Ethiopia is a source country
for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of
forced labor and sexual exploitation...Ethiopian women are
trafficked primarily to Lebanon and Saudi Arabia for domestic
servitude...Small percentages of these women are trafficked
into the sex trade after arriving at their destinations.8

7. COMMENT: While the number of Ethiopian orphans being
adopted by Americans and other foreigners is growing,
adoption is doing little to mitigate Ethiopia's orphan
problem. Ethiopia has over 5 million orphans, and many of
them will grow up in institutions like Kechene. While the
GOE does provide some services and resources to those
children leaving institutional care, they (especially girls)
are among the most vulnerable populations. Facing high
unemployment and little opportunity in Ethiopia, they are at
risk of trafficking. END COMMENT.
YAMAMOTO

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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