Church in Ethiopia Hosts Consultative Meeting on Child Protection
CANAA || By Makeda Yohannes, Ethiopia Catholic Secretariat || 14 November 2016
Child Protection is a Ministry Entrusted to All by God
The Ethiopian Catholic Church Social and Development Commission (ECC SDCO) has brought together those working with children, elderly and people with disability in various Church projects in different parts of the country.
The two-day consultative meeting, which took place in Addis Ababa last Thursday and Friday, November 10-11 mainly aimed at enhancing child protection and sharing of experiences among implementers from different Dioceses.
In his opening remark Mr. Bekele Moges, ECC SDCO Executive Director said that social rehabilitation is one of the priorities of the Church. He said the work of social rehabilitation extends to children, elderly, the people with disability and the marginalized for whom the Church has always been a voice.
“Gathering here together from different Dioceses for a discussion allows us to identify the needs of the vulnerable and evaluate our ways of responding to the needs, it also shows us a path to how we can proceed in the future,” he underlined encouraging the participants of the workshop to share their experiences in detail.
The executive director stressed that working with children and with the elderly is not an easy task as many of the challenges come from within the society due to pessimist attitude towards some of the vulnerable children being served.
“Social reintegration is our priority, working with the society and families is vital to reintegrating the children we work with to their community,” said Mr. Bekele.
He added that the Church has so far been successful in engaging families and the community to be part of the lives of the beneficiary children and the vulnerable being supported by different projects and asked the social workers to move forward keeping in mind the importance of making the children they work with feel like they are part and parcel of the society.
Sr. Senait Mengesha, MMS, ECC SDCO Women and Family Affairs Team Leader said that children are entrusted to us by God.
“Children, people with disabilities and the elderly cannot care for themselves but we are given the responsibility to care for them. This is not just a job for us but a Ministry given to us by Our Lord, thus we must serve them with faithfully” said Sr. Senait.
She explained in addition to directly working with children, the Church’s Child protection policy is considered for every social project run by ECC SDCO to ensure the safeguarding of children.
Tens of thousands of children in Ethiopia have gone through the Church’s social rehabilitation programmes and have become outstanding citizens throughout the years. Currently the Church runs 41 social rehabilitation centers mainly by religious congregations in different Dioceses working with children, elders and the vulnerable.