We help lonely and orphaned children

support for education

700 million women in the world today were married off as children. Child marriages continue to be a problem in developing and poor countries where one in three girls under 18 are forced into marriage.


There are over 14 million underage girls married off each year. Many of them are married against their will. In Ethiopia, 2 out of every five girls (41 %) are married before they turn 18. Most such marriages occur in rural areas with much older men. Some girls are married off when they are as young as 7 years old. Child marriages have been illegal in Ethiopia for the past 8 years, but tradition and material purposes continue to take priority over the law.

The girls often escape from their villages to avoid getting married and end up in the big city streets in masses, where they are subject to numerous dangers. Most of them find jobs as servants in the homes of strangers. They are often exploited and do not go to school. The main cause of deaths in girls aged 13–18 include pregnancy and labour. 70 thousand underage wives die each year throughout the world. Such marriages often violate international standards and women’s and children’s rights conventions.

When young girls get married, their chances for an education and any kind of professional skills are very limited and their health is exposed to complications associated with early pregnancy and labour, which their bodies are often too young to handle. This problem appears in many different countries, cultures, and religions. One of the reasons for marrying young girls off is the opportunity to escape poverty – the future husband has to pay appropriate material compensation to the parents and the girl will be supported by the husband, which additionally takes a financial weight off the parents. 

The project is directed at children living in the streets:

  • building two mobile libraries
  • providing additional equipment for the learning centre building, where children under the organisation’s care – including those living in the streets and addicted to drugs – attend bamboo furniture making classes or learn a profession

Children end up on the streets for various reasons: they are orphaned or abandoned, abused or harmed, they run away because they feel neglected and unwanted by their families. Many children abandon their poor homes in the country and go to the city in search for work and food because their parents cannot afford to feed them. They are aged anywhere between a few and eighteen years old. The latter are entering adulthood deprived of an opportunity for a normal life and job from the very start. 

The situation of the children living in the streets in Africa is often hopeless, sometimes even worse than the events that caused it. These children are living not only on their own and with no access to education or health care, but they are often exposed to all forms of violence, abuse, and addiction. Many of them engage in sexual activity at an early age. They get their food from trash, waste dumps, or by begging for leftovers in restaurants. Some of them are forced into prostitution, which exposes them to sexually transmitted diseases. These children try to find solace in drugs and alcohol. There are likely around 10 million children in the world living in the streets.


Yenege Tesfa was established in 2001 in accordance with the philosophy that homeless and orphaned children deserve a better life. The organisation is coordinated by Nigitsi, a 30-year-old woman with a tremendous mission, who offers help on the streets of Gonder and operates houses for girls who were orphaned, come from poor families, or are the victims of violence.

In 2004, Yenege Tesfa was registered as a local non-governmental organisation. It currently operates 5 houses for 80 children and several projects, including the following:

  • shelter for girls who were orphaned, come from poor families, or are the victims of violence
  • day care: Centre for single mothers with children aged between 3 and 6 years old. The Centre is located at the shelter. There are 4 persons taking care of around 30 children who receive three meals a day. It is currently home to 20 children, whose mothers have joined the organisation’s microcredit programme.

They are children of working single mothers. Thanks to the organisation taking care of their children, the mothers can go to work. Little children are wonderful, they repeat letters together at the blackboard. The older group also has classes with a teacher to prepare them for school.

  • mobile school: the mobile school is on wheels and has retractable blackboards and colourful panels used to teach the children living in the streets wherever they may be. The school aims to raise their confidence and provide them with education. The school is open on every weekday and reaches three locations in Gondar.
  • learning centre: a learning centre for the children living at the organization’s homes and the children living in the streets. It has a few rooms for NGO to offer various forms of activity for children who make there jewellery or handbags. There is also a room for them to study and a room to play or sing.

where we are


    im warto pomóc

    Case title
    Nigisti Gebreslassie Founder of Yenege Tesfa (Hope for Tomorrow)

    A woman with a tremendous passion and an even bigger heart. After she and her family moved to Gonder in 2001, she was unable to accept the fate of the local children and decided to help them full time. She registered the organisation in 2004 and now operates 6 houses for over 80 children and helps single mothers to care for their children. The organisation also supports children’s education by offering mobile schools and libraries on the streets of Gonder. The NGO headquarters also hosts handicraft, singing, reading, and writing classes.

    Case title
    Belaynshe Dimsa

    14 years old. Married off when she was 13 because of the difficult financial situation of her parents and the Ethiopian tradition. Belaynshe had never met her future husband. The wedding took place despite her objections. The man was much older than she was and treated the young girl very poorly. He regularly beat, raped, and humiliated her. She took birth control pills to keep herself from getting pregnant, which she did in secret from her husband. She was miserable and completely exhausted, but she was still brave enough to take this final step. She ran away from her husband to Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. She found refuge with girls who were once in the same situation. Today, she is finally free and safe and she is able to smile once again.

    Case title
    Abebu Tsegaye

    15 years old. Married off when she was 12 against her will and awareness. Like most young wives, Abebu was humiliated and beat on an almost daily basis. She was able to endure her personal hell for three years before she decided to leave her husband. Her marriage was officially annulled by a court order, but she is condemned in her home village for life. For cultural reasons, she would have to leave her home and move to the city in order to start a family and remarry. She is now living with her family and working hard in the field to ensure herself a future education.

    Case title
    Sewnet Werkey

    12 years old. When she was 11, her parents wanted to marry her off to a much older man. Sewnet decided to run away. She had to travel 80 km to get to Gonder. When she found herself on the street, she completely broke down. She did not know anyone and had nowhere to go. Serkalem Amare, a young woman unable to come to terms with the girl’s fate, took her into her home. Sewnet is currently living with Serkalem and helping out around the house. Serkalem says that she loves Sewnet as if she were her own child. The girl is starting school next year.

    Case title
    Senite Behonegn

    18 years old. Run away from home and marriage. She found a job in the city as a housekeeper and moved in with her employers. She was not treated well. When she was raped by the son of the owners and got pregnant, they threw her out into the street. Today she leaves her 18-month-old daughter at Yenege Tesfa so that she can go to work and support herself and her child.

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    Our account number: PL92 1090 1362 0000 0001 2274 9213. SWIFT: WBKPPLPP

    Kulczyk Foundation will allocate 100% of collected funds to supported educational projects.

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