The youth apostolate is a major priority of the Archdiocese of Addis Abeba, for the challenges facing young people in Ethiopia are immense. Many of these young people face a future of poverty and unemployment and can only dream of fleeing the countryside for the capital, or even leaving the country altogether and emigrating to Europe. Most do not realise beforehand the dangers, both physical and spiritual, that can result from such a decision. At the same time they too are bombarded by all the influences of the modern world, with its many false values, since today the modern media are able to penetrate into even the remotest villages. As a result, many young people lose their way and with it a healthy perspective on life and family.
To counter this, the Catholic Church is running programmes for young people in all 15 parishes of the archdiocese, which aim to train up young people as group leaders who can then work with other young people in their own locality. For most of the parishes are very large in area and, given the sense of isolation, it is important to be able to provide as many regular activities as possible. For it is above all in the more remote and underdeveloped regions, outside of the capital, that young people have few opportunities to grow and develop. Moreover, as experience in other countries and other areas has shown, young people who are closely involved in the life of the local Church are far less likely than others to try to leave their homeland and consequently much more willing to work for a better future in their own country.
One of the most important themes addressed is the issue of marriage preparation and the whole area of an integral and responsible sexual education. The programmes include Bible studies, musical events and choral singing workshops. There is also plenty of space for the young people to meet and have fun together with sporting activities and games. The programme also includes the chance to join in three retreat days each year, during which those involved can focus more closely on their relationship with God. Invitations are also extended especially to those young people who have not previously been actively involved in parish life.
ACN fully supports these initiatives and so we are proposing to help with a contribution of 10,000 Euros.