The Ethiopian mother Theresa they call her. She is the mother of many, who without her love and kindness would not have seen the light of life. Mrs Abebech Gobena passed away recently but will forever remain in the memories of those who grew in her warm and loving home but also in those who have witnessed her kind and loving nature. Her good deeds make one wonder about the meaning of the word ‘mother’, for she has shown us all that being a mother does not necessary mean to share blood. I always envy those who live and have lived a selfless life, giving themselves to others and doing so in utmost happiness and satisfaction. One of the most difficult things in life is to love, dearly, wholly and selflessly. Who loves their enemies? Forget your enemies. Who is able to dearly love every human that they have ever known? We may love our children, our parents, our spouses, all those who are close to us. But who loves their work colleagues dearly and selflessly? Who loves each and every of their neighbor with no pretense and conditions? Being loved is a gift, but to love dearly is an even better gift!
Let me come back to my subject. I want to talk today about children who are in unfortunate situations. Whose heart does not break when they see children suffering as a result of the sins of adults? A parent would particularly feel the pain of children who are suffering, be it from illness, extreme poverty or war. They say Addis Ababa is the capital city of Africa. The streets of this vibrant metropolitan is however becoming increasingly crowded with very little and young children who would stare at you while you are strolling around in the city, begging for food and for money. There is no way you can avoid seeing them in the hope of protecting your heart from breaking and getting depressed from their sight. They are in every corner of the city. When they beg you for bread hanging at your car window, you hush them as fast as you can, not because you do not have the cents that they need to buy one piece of bread but because you fear that by giving money, you will teach them to beg instead of working. But do these children understand the lesson you are trying to give them? I believe no one would understand what they feel unless one is in their shoes. Everybody knows the feeling of hunger. But not everybody knows what it means to be hungry day in day out as much as we think we understand the feeling.
Now that Mrs Abebech Gobena is no longer with those children, have you wondered what it would become of the children’s home? You might say that the institution is a well-founded one and will continue running forever. I have my fear that now that the face of the children’s home is no longer there, it would be challenging to keep the institution intact and financially stable. The tricky thing about charity is that it is not sustainable. I am not saying that charity should not be there. All I am saying is that charity organizations such as Abebech Gobena’s children’s home should always plan about how to generate and earn income to self-sustain. The government has an important role to play here in terms of providing incentives to businesses whose profits are remitted back to the running of charity organizations. Some may abuse this right, but it is up to the government to tighten its control and supervision, because at the end of the day, these charity organizations are doing the things that it should have been doing in the first place!