Sitting in the east of the continent, on the so-called Horn of Africa, Ethiopia is a country filled with contradictions. On the one hand the country is showing strong economic growth, yet on the other there is widespread deep poverty. Within the national territory there are around 80 different ethnic groups, with widely differing cultures and languages. Some 58% of the 100 million or so population are Orthodox Christians of the Ethiopian rite. Catholics make up barely 2% of the population, although the Catholic Church maintains a great many schools, kindergartens and social care centres.
To take one example, the Salesians of Don Bosco are providing their important work of service in five different regions of Ethiopia. The congregation has been present in Ethiopia since 1975, and is engaged particularly in working to help disadvantaged young people, such as street children for example, providing them with a safe refuge, supporting and educating them and providing them with some form of vocational training.
The parish of Our Lady Help of Christians in Adwa, in the northern regional state of Tigray, was established in 1990 and is run today by the Salesians. It serves a community of around 220 Catholic faithful, most of whom live a hand to mouth existence. The average monthly income of most families is equivalent to between 35 and 70 US dollars, which is barely enough to survive on. In addition there are many problems in the families and they need a great deal of support.
The Salesians base their work upon three main pillars – helping the children, the young people and the families. It is crucially important work, and ACN is proposing to help with a contribution of 14,875 Euros for the current year.