When thinking about how I was going to share my story of Selamta I realized it was so much easier to break it into pieces than try to explain the trip as a whole. There was a ton of big heart stuff that happened personally and I didn’t want my personal experience to over shadow the practicality of what Selamta does. Yesterday I shared a glimpse of the two amazing souls behind The Archibald Project, you can read more about that here. Today it’s all about the most incredible non-profit we were able to partner with in Addis.
Orphan care non-profits from all over the globe reach out to The Archibald Project and invite them come to their organization to story-tell on their behalf. Selamta reached out to Archibald and said, “Hey, this is who we are. This is what we do. We’d love to have you!” So Archibald put together a Media Mission team to go see first hand what Selamta Family Project is all about.
Selamta Family Project is an ethical orphan care organization that employs marginalized women (women who have been abused, abandoned, widowed..) and gives them an opportunity for employment. They tell these women: we’ll give you a home to care for, a salary to live on, education and emotional support, and a friend to come help you eight hours a day. All we ask in return is that you choose to be a mother to 8-10 children. WOW! What a load to carry. But let me tell you friends, these women carry it was such grace, class, wisdom and kindness. The moms of Selamta are in a league of their own when it comes to hospitality. They serve all day, every day. They pour out their hearts for their families. They are on a mission to nurture and raise up the next leaders of Ethiopia. And they are doing it successfully! There are 11 family homes throughout a suburb of Addis.
The children, ranging from 5-25 years old, come to Selamta as an orphan and are placed in a loving home with a mom, auntie, brothers and sisters. They come from hard and broken pasts, but they know what a gem it is to be in a loving committed home. The numbers alone for the Ethiopian orphan crisis are astounding. There are over 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia. If you are over the age of 10 you are typically too old to be in a traditional orphanage. Meaning you are now homeless on the streets. The kids of Selamta know they have a golden opportunity in front of them and education is a top priority. The loving family environment doesn’t stop when they “age out” instead they are equip to transition into strong thriving adults. Always having a family unit to come back to and celebrate life with. Much like our own traditional families!
Selamta’s Community Center (Where we stayed! In a central location to all the homes.) houses the office of the full time staff that runs the show. They have an Ethiopian Director, Psychologist, Outreach/Assistant Director, Finance Manager, and Educational/Enrichment programs. I was able to get to know the amazing staff and ask them some questions of how they would describe Selamta. The two words that were said over and over was FAMILY and LOVE! Here are some of the fun questions and answers:
What is your favorite thing about Selamta?
-Selamta is a family and it gives a sense of belonging.
-Love, extraordinary unconditional love. For everyone, not just within the individual families!
What do you want the world to know about Selamta?
-These kids are incredible and capable if given the right resources.
-It’s the number one place everyone should see in their lifetime.
-We are different than a traditional orphanage. Here we have real love and care.
What is your dream for Selamta?
-To see lots more, everywhere. When there are orphans, there is Selamta.
-To grow big and popular to help more orphans throughout Ethiopia.
-That we really are raising up the next generation of Ethiopian leaders.
Hope you enjoyed getting to know Selamta Family Project more! Be sure to check back tomorrow to learn all about their American Director that works from Florida and travels to Addis 2-5 times a year. I’m in awe of her you guys!!
Here is a glimpse of my heart while I was there.
You can follow along on Instagram @selamtaproject