There are many vulnerable children in Kolfe Keranyo, a town on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. Poverty has hit the community hard and most of the parents that use the day care centre earn too little to properly cover their household needs. To free up time to go to work and earn an income, they often look for safe places to leave their young children for the day.
To support these vulnerable families, SOS Children’s Villages opened the Keranyo Day Care Centre in 1997, to provide full-day care to children aged two to seven years. The children receive basic essentials like food, pre-school education, entertainment and play.
Debtera* was two years old when she joined the day care centre in 2017. When she arrived, she was weak and malnourished from a lack of food. When her parents separated, her mother could not afford to feed her a balanced diet on a regular basis.
At the day care centre, Debtera has access to three nutritious meals and she receives quality care from the caregivers and teachers who look after the 194 children at the centre.
“Debtera has grown healthy and energetic enough to play with her classmates, express herself confidently and learn numeracy and literacy,” says Fannah, her class teacher. “She likes to help her classmates clean tables and arrange chairs properly. She is the class monitor. I believe she has a bright future,” she adds.
The parents who drop their children off at the day care centre do so free of charge. Part of the day care centre program also requires parents to attend monthly meetings to learn skills on child care from trained SOS staff and caregivers. Short seminars on entrepreneurship, parental skills and reproductive health are also offered.
From Monday to Friday, parents drop their children off at 8:15 a.m. in the morning and pick them up at 3:30 p.m. The day care centre has six classes that accommodate up to 33 children. The centre has 10 staff members that include a supervisor, caregivers and cooks.
Debtera will leave the day care in September of this year to join grade one at a nearby primary school. Her mother is now in a better position to provide for her and meet her educational needs.
In the near future, the day care centre would like to provide additional training to parents in order to help them be self-sufficient and the best possible caregivers to their children.
*Name changed to protect the privacy of the child