Kalkidan Muluken, a 6-year-old scholarship student in the Step by Step program, is among those who are missing and presumed dead after a major garbage avalanche in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
On Saturday, March 11, 2017, at the approximately 8 pm local time, a massive landslide of trash buried residents of the Kore dump community, destroying makeshift homes built of mud, thatch, plastic tarp and cardboard. According to Al Jazeera, the Kore dump, where 500 people work as official employees and thousands more as informal recyclers and garbage collectors, receives about 820 tons of waste daily.
Kalkidan’s body was found in an embrace with her mother’s. Kalkidan disliked living in the dangerous conditions of the dump and picking through trash with her mother. Receiving an education, a luxury her family could not afford, was her dream come true. In her letter to International Samaritan, she said the following:
“My greatest wish has been to go to school so that I can stay as far as possible from the garbage area. The smell irritates me, broken bottles and nails get into my bare feet and I’ve gotten leg infections many times… After the scholarship, not only do I go to school, but I also get food 3 times a day. My mother still goes to the garbage dump, but since I go to school now, she doesn’t ask me to go with her. I am happy and unlike past years, I don’t get sick often. This makes me even happier.”
To lose an innocent young child is tragic and heartbreaking. The majority of these missing are women and children, according to Ethiopia Program Director Selam Terefe.
International Samaritan, in addition to bolstering its investment in education, nutrition, and healthcare for the Kore community, is currently organizing activities, games, music and other sources of emotional and psychological support for Step by Step scholarship students that have been traumatized by the landslide.
International Samaritan to invest in Home Building, Scholarship Programs
International Samaritan, in addition to bolstering its investment in education, nutrition, and healthcare for the Kore community, is currently organizing activities, games, music, and other sources of emotional and psychological support for Step by Step scholarship students that have been traumatized by the landslide.
Birhanu Godanna, is one such student. He lives with his mother, an HIV positive garbage dump worker, in a metal shack on the edge of the garbage dump. With the money he earns scavenging, he helps pay their rent.
Birhanu lost several friends in the landslide – none of those missing were found alive. With the loss of Kalkidan, Barhanu will now receive her scholarship and have a chance at better life away from the dump.