Making a difference one step at a time, one life at a time

Africa’s hot embrace welcomes us as soon as we hit the tarmac. Life and death; sun and mud; animals and children: a whirlwind of opposites coexisting in Ethiopia.

We are directed to Soddo, a city in south-western Ethiopia, the capital of Wolayta with 200,000 inhabitants, to meet Marcella, head of the educational project of Campus Busajo (which in Amharic - the local language - means "one who looks into the distance") which aims at prevention, recovery and reintegration into families and society of street children, which the Costa Family Foundation helps to support every year.

From Arba Minch airport we travel aboard a Land Cruiser along an asphalt line that runs endlessly through villages lost in an exuberant nature, in a continuous coming and going of horns, tuc-tuc, motorcycles, cattle, people intent on finding the most disparate ways to survive in a dignified way. Ethiopia, the cradle of humanity, is the second most populous country in Africa with 118 million people and a growth rate of 2.5% per year; the average age is 19.5 years; more than 80 ethnic groups are recognized and 80 official languages spoken; the main religion is Orthodox Christianity but there are several significant Muslim communities as well as many followers of other traditional religions.

The eyes are filled with images, the heart with emotions. A total immersion in a reality so different from the European one, which brings you back down to earth, in that real Africa, far from glossy magazines and the rich western tourism of safaris. Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world: over 30% of the population lives below the poverty line with limited access to basic necessities, such as food, drinking water, health services and education.

Ethiopia is plagued by high rates of malnutrition, especially among children. It is estimated that more than 30% of under-fives suffer from chronic malnutrition, which can have long-lasting effects on their growth and development. And it is precisely the children who strike us the most: so numerous along the roads we travel, they look at us with wide-eyed and amazed eyes; this is not a tourist area and white men are a rarity; some greet us, the bravest shout "FARANJI" which, in their language, means white-skinned man. This word has historical roots linked to the colonial period, of which we Italians are also remembered in these territories, for the black stain left here during the fascist period.

The thousands of street children of Soddo live in poverty, sniff petrol from plastic bottles to not feel hungry, sleep under makeshift canopies to shelter from the violent downpours that show all their power in this rainy season. However, all of them have a different choice: to enter the Campus. The doors, in fact, are always open: none of them are left out and the children themselves can decide whether to enter or leave by themselves.

Within the Busajo Campus, boys and girls can access: medical and psychological assistance; teaching the rules of coexistence, personal hygiene and personal care; study assistance; professional training; sports activities; agricultural and pastoral activities. It is possible to access the Campus in a residential or semi-residential regime and all children included in the residential program are provided with: food and accommodation, clothing and shoes, nursing and medical care, enrollment in city schools, supplementary courses and sports activities. In fact, the center has a full-size soccer field, a basketball court and a volleyball court, as well as a gymnasium equipped with various types of equipment.

The semi-residential program offers street boys and girls the possibility of accessing the Campus even from outside for medical assistance or to attend professional training workshops, to learn a trade that will allow them to find a job and therefore become independent. The following laboratories are active on the Campus: bread-making; bamboo processing; weaving and tailoring; carpentry, painting and welding; soap.

The boys live and carry out the activities envisaged by the project inside the main building of the Campus, the Main Building, while the girls live in the adjacent structure, the Girls House, who, having different needs from those of the boys, follow a specific programme.

Love, care, order, cleanliness, rules, commitment, choice, dignity, humility and professionalism: I would like to enclose the wonderful Busajo Campus in these words. We are happy and honored to be able to contribute as Costa Family Foundation to the development of such an innovative, empowering and transformative project for the boys and girls of Soddo and for the future of Ethiopian society.

Now the next step is to build a typography to print the necessary books for the children who go to school and the big dream is to create an internal school that can give value to the hundreds and hundreds of little souls who are still out there. But to do this, many efforts, a long journey: together, one step at a time, one life at a time, because no dream is too big for those who have the courage to "see far".

Fabio Bertocchi
Condividi su Facebook

Other current topics

A healing recipe

The Jhamtse Gatsal Community project: Tibetan monk Lobsang Phuntsok visits Corvara

Read on

Un filo invisibile lungo 6000 km

Si può essere così fisicamente distanti e sentirsi incredibilmente vicini? La nostra risposta è sì. Corvara e l'Afghanistan non sono mai state così vicine.

Read on


A charitable lunghe in Corvara (BZ) to support female education in Afghanistan and the clandestine school network set up by the women of RAWA

Read on
Other topics

Gift 5X1000 to the Costa Family Foundation! There is no cost to you and it helps many.

Here follow the details for "5X1000"

Denomination: Costa Family Foundation o.n.l.u.s.
Tax code: 92028490214

Please send me these details by email