Child Headed Family

There are 22 child-headed families at Yezelalem Minch. The situation of a child-headed family is quite different from that of other orphans in the organization. It is very painful, especially in a society where social activities are practiced and valued more highly than in many other countries. Accordingly, on holidays or other special occasions, these children become more vulnerable than ever. Children who live with a parent are typically able to participate in social activities, since ceremonial expenses are covered by their parent or guardian. However, children who are cared for by a young brother or sister have a great burden in every special occasion.

There are may reasons that cause children to be raised in a child-headed family. For one, stigma and discrimination attached to children whose parents died from HIV/AIDS means that they may be marginalized by their relatives and community, left to care for themselves. This stigma can prevent children and families from seeking help, or prevent others from offering assistance. Such children may also be denied equal access to financial opportunities, only increasing their risk of experiencing violence and abuse.

At YMCCD, we have ceremonial meetings with these particular orphans. We usually celebrate the holidays together with staff, and give attention to exceptional holiday expenses that would normally be expected from parents. Last month, we had a very wonderful Easter holiday celebration with these children. More than just a gathering, we had drama, song, poetry, and personal testimony sharing time. There is nothing that makes us happier than to see the children happy like that! It helped them to feel that there is someone next to them, even in such a day where having someone is so important.

We love others because Christ loved us first!