In Ethiopia, Cross Catholic Outreach is proud to partner with ministries like the Brothers of Good Works, a Catholic organization serving the poorest of the poor, including those with disabilities. The Brothers of Good Works’ Community-Based Rehabilitation program in Addis Ababa helps children with special needs. We love this project because it declares the value and dignity of all human life, and in the process, glorifies the Lord!
In Ethiopia, 17.6 percent of the population is moderately or severely disabled — and nearly all of those people live in poverty. People with disabilities and their families are often stigmatized, preventing children from getting the care they need. Their parents are subject to rejection, scorn and discrimination. The Brothers of Good Works’ vision is to live in a society where all people are given the opportunity to realize their God-given dignity, worth, value and potential. Their mission is to work with vulnerable groups and individuals to help them empower themselves, become self-reliant and participate in society through counseling, education and opportunities for work.
Brothers of Good Works provides these mentally and physically disabled children with desperately needed support, including physical therapy, medical referrals and food. The program also empowers parents of special-needs children through income generation, counseling, financial assistance and education. The ministry also aims to raise awareness and change community attitudes about the disabled through a variety of outreaches, encouraging a culture of life to flourish.
“A child with a disability is a child of God. That child is a person to love. We show that working with a child with a disability is worth your time, attention, and your love,” said Abebe Dantamo, director of the program. “Parents start to feel that and understand that. Parents begin to say that God sent your staff to work with me.”
One of the children who’s benefitted from the program is Veronika, 5, who was born with hydrocephaly. Thanks to the program, she’s enrolled in school, physiotherapy, school transportation assistance, and milk for therapeutic feeding. And because of the therapy she’s received through the program, Veronika is now walking on her own. It’s a miracle!
Veronika is just one of the children whose life has been changed thanks to this ministry. We’re so thankful we get to be part of transformative stories like hers!