Mother of Humanity

Our world has seen many prominent fig­ures in the past few centuries. People call these persons in different names. Some are under the category of care, love and humanity. Some of the best persons in the course of history are: Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, and the like. On the other hand, there are people as cruel as the devil itself. Adolf Hitler is the one from this category.

Surprisingly, these people represent their countries whether they do good or evil. Every continent has some major figures in their history. The American continent has Thomas Jefferson, George Washington; the Latin America has Che Guevara, Fidel Cas­tro. The Europe has Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler; the far east has Confucius, Mother Theresa, and Mahatma Gandhi.

Our continent, Africa, has those kinds of people. Nelson Mandela, Emperor Haile Selassie, Kumai Nkrumah and so on.

To minimize the scope, here in Ethiopia, there are well known Ethiopians. Starting from the power house of the nation to the ordinary civilians, Ethiopia can call many. From Itege Taitu to Meaza Biru Ethiopia has brought bright and wonderful women in its long history.

In recent years, there was one name which is above all names, Abebech Gobena, the African Mother Theresa. Anyone can eas­ily predict the love and care from the nick name that this beloved mother got.

From the small village called Shebel in the Oromia region, Ethiopia got this big- hearted women in 1938. She got married without her consent when she was eleven years old, but she refused to be a wife at that age so she fled to Addis Ababa and tried to get basic education; she was a very clever student. She got married again in Addis Ababa.

During the time of the Ethiopian famine, while she was in her pilgrimage to Geshen Mariam, she started her humanitarian work in Wollo province by distributing what she had- a loaf of bread and five liters of holy water. She witnessed a child with her dead mother. Abebech decided to take two or­phans whose families were died from the hunger to Addis Ababa. Within a year, this number of the orphans got 21.

She had scarified a lot to take care of these orphans. She sold her belongings and gold jewelries and bought flour for making in­jera and bread to serve the children because her income was too little. Abebech did not listen to advices from her families, even from her husband to stop this deed rath­er she continued to be a mother of many children. Having decided on helping those orphans, Abebech couldn’t be able to save both her marriage and the orphans so that she got divorced. She got nothing except a chicken coop where the orphanage started. One can imagine the burden she held to support these children with a very small  income.

After suffering from many challenges and problems, Abebech got support from the government. In 1986, her orphanage got registered legally by the government with the name “Abebech Gobena Orphanage and School”. However, the number of or­phanages became increased due to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Based on the orphanage report, there are 200 resident and 482 non- resident students in the orphanage school. The orphanage also pays school fees for over 1000 chil­dren from poor families at other schools.

The orphanage aims to support the needy people not by giving money rather by edu­cating them to be self- reliant. There are facilities that can aid the needy to educate themselves on sewing, knitting, weaving, metalwork, plumbing, electricity, photog­raphy, and silkscreen printing. This is a big step for the society to be more independ­ent and confident on oneself. Furthermore, more than 2000 malnourished children and mothers obtain food from the orphanage.

In addition to the above achievements, the orphanage has done lot of jobs on produc­ing responsible society. Abebesh has also done reuniting orphans with relatives.

It is known that there are houses in Addis that are not comfortable for living. Due to this, the Abebech’s orphanage has built three schools, a health center, 268 houses, 40 latrines, and 25 water points so far. For people who cook in their living rooms, the organization has built 200 kitchens. It also offers different trainings for girl who came to the capital city from the countryside to protect them from any harmful practices. Because of this, the over 200 girls have at­tained their course on food preparation and catering. This is a n opportunity for creat­ing job opportunities for the citizens of the nation.

The organization has not stopped its par­amount achievements only in Addis. In 1990, it commenced its first ever project out of Addis in Guder which is more than 140 kilometers far from the capital. This project basically was a farm to assist food for the children and generate income for the Addis Ababa based orphanage. The organization has also constructed many facilities. For instance, primary school and a kindergarten for needy people in Burayu which is a far post of Addis, and in Fiche, Oromia, there is a training center for stu­dents who learn weaving, sweat- making, carpentry and masonry.

Now a days, AGOHELMA (Abebech Gob­ena Children Care & Development) , the association formed by Abebech herself, of­fers different services including formal and in- formal education, HIV/AIDS preven­tion, infrastructure development, women empowerment, and others. Surprisingly, Abebech become a mother of 450,000 chil­dren despite she had none. What a bless­ing this was for her. More than 1.5 million people have been supported in plenty ways.

Abebech has achieved many recognitions and awards in her lifetime. From more than hundred recognitions and awards, some of them are: honor of doctoral in Humanity from Jimma University, a medal and cer­tificate of honor from Addis Ababa Univer­sity, a trophy and certificate of recognition from UN., a trophy and certificate of honor from Ethiopian Orthodox Church, interna­tional award winner from London World ware Business Award, and many more.

Sadly, on July 4, 2021, the people of Ethio­pia heard a heart broken news from St. Paul’s Hospital as Dr. Abebech has been fighting with COVID 19 other complica­tions for her life but she gave up and went to her Father. All Ethiopians remember her name with love. She had done stunning ac­tions for benefiting the society by ignoring the interests of her flesh. What a journey this was! What a blessing this would be for Ethiopians! What a lesson for all mankind! May rest in peace our beloved, server, lov­er, caretaker. Above all, she was mother of mothers!

The Ethiopian herald July 6/2021

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