A strong family provides the foundation for healing, personal accomplishment and societal success. Our Selamta families go through a transitional period where new children are welcomed into the Selamta Children’s Center. The Children’s Center is itself a large family, and a platform for creating new, life-long homes in the surrounding neighborhood.
When children arrive at Selamta, they live at the Children’s Center for a period of stabilization and preparation to move into a small family unit. As our new children and sibling groups acclimate to life at Selamta, we are welcoming prospective moms and aunties into the Center. These are women of good character, abandoned through the death of their families or spouse, and who are often living on the streets or in destitution.
New Selamta mothers are first apprenticed as caregivers, and learn to work with the children, develop bonds of respect and trust and internalize Selamta values. During their apprenticeship, they are educated extensively in parenting, health care and homemaking.
These once-marginalized women will re-enter the community as new moms and aunties to a household of new brothers and sisters.
A Lifelong Family
Future families seem to gravitate into a shared orbit at Selamta Center. Soon, a mother, an auntie and their group of eight to nine children emerge, and they are relocated as a new family into a modern home nearby the Center. Selamta families are not temporary or “foster” placements. They are brother and sister, son and daughter, nieces and nephews forever.
For the rest of the children’s lives, there will always be someone to share joy and sorrow, turn to in times of need, and come home to visit for the holidays. And as they move through school and out into the world, the children will, in turn, do their best to provide support as their mom grows older. This is the traditional, sustainable circle of life, not only in Ethiopia, but in cultures across the world.