Good Shepherd Sisters in Ethiopia are missionaries from different nationalities and countries. Over the past 30 years, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat, we have established a number of projects. The thrust of all this work is to enable women to develop their own capacity and potential as active members of their own communities. Means and methods are adapted to the local needs and circumstances. While the projects operate independently of each other, they are all conducted according to the basic philosophy of St. Mary Euphrasia, foundress of Good Shepherd Sisters: A person is of more value than the whole world." In line with the overall purpose of Good Shepherd Sisters in Ethiopia, the goal of our ministries is "TO NURTURE LIFE, HOPE AND LIBERATION THROUGH A COMPASSIONATE PRESENCE." We are actively involved in a variety of ministries: Day Care Creation of Employment Opportunities Provision of Support to Pre-primary, Primary and Secondary Education. Infrastructure provision – housing etc Community Development Children and Parents Development Programs Welfare Program for the elderly Pastoral Activities Website of the Province of Ireland/Ethiopia: http://www.goodshepherdsisters.com/
Community Development Project Gulele (CDPG)
The location of the project is on the outskirts of the city and known to be one of the poorest areas in Addis Abeba. The district has a population of about 40,000. The focus of this project is to enable the poorest of the poor women/girls become empowered and towards self-reliance.
The programmes are: Saving & Credit 80% now living in better living conditions /Job Opportunity 85-90% young drop out girls now working/Child Care Services for Children 98% children are engaged in the formal educational system who would otherwise have formed the new illiterate generation / Rehabilitation for women engaged in Commercial Sex Work.22/40 now engaged in alternative means of earning a living.(This programme is only 2.5 yrs old).Four of these women have been reconciled with their families from north, south east and west of the country.
Using a small seed capital the women were helped to set up an income-generating activity in accordance to their capacity/capability. As a point of interest within a period of three weeks some 90 women registered to become part of the programme. At the moment the rehabilitation programme can only cater for 20 women in a given year. All Project programmes are funded by international donors and each programme is for three year duration with possibilities of extensions. All programmes are highly organised with an impressive impact. The team consists of one Good Shepherd Sister and 29 lay persons. Programme staff (21) are all qualified persons.
Sr. Myriam McLaughlin
GOOD SHEPHERD SISTERS CENTER (GSSC)
Always striving to facilitate the poorest to develop their potentials to be effective citizens in their community, Good Shepherd Sisters Center (GSSC) launched a 3-year project agreement with Government at the beginning of 2009. This new agreement directs its focus on women, girls and children in the context of family and community. Thus, the programs include:
* Income generating activity for female heads of households
* Vocational skills training for school drop-out girls
* Child development and education program for sponsored students
* Community health and environmental care program for community members
* Community initiatives program related to health, environment, education and
The programs have (1) awareness-raising and non-formal education on individual, family and social responsibilities and rights, to minimize violence against women and girls, and (2) skills trainings for income enhancement and improvement of living conditions and thereby contribute to poverty reduction.
Sr. Clemencia Flora
OUTREACH Program is the program for the women in prostitution who are affected by HIV/AIDS. They have been in this program since 1994. Their condition is getting weaker and they cannot work anymore. They are rejected by their families and society.
The objective of this program is to support and encourage them to accept their condition gracefully, by:
Personal and group Counseling
This activity has been helping them to accept their reality. They admit their condition gracefully and they are able to express their feelings freely. They are able to support each other in the group. They have been moving out of isolation and bonding with others. They are happy to be as they are, since they experience the acceptance and respect.
Spiritual input, Bible sharing and prayer
The Spiritual input, Bible sharing and prayer, has been strengthening their faith and trust in God who loves and takes care of them. They are able to continue their life with more self-confidence and hope.
This activity has been helping them to be active in their daily life and to value the handwork. Even though they are sick, they are able to do a little thing that make them feel more dignity and precious as a human being.
We encourage them to inform and register to the local government office, called "Kebele" , that they have HIV /AIDS . They get recommendation letter from the local government office and they get free medical treatment from the Government Hospital. We support them with food and now their health is improving and they look healthy.
The time that we spend together for recreation and celebrating the Ethiopian New Year, Christmas and Easter in a simple way, gives them a great joy. By doing home visit among the members, it has been developing interdependece among them. It has been helping them to have concern and care for each other.
Sr. Yohanita Siti Rahayu
Bethlehem Day Care and Family Services (BDC & FS)
Bethlehem Day Care began operations in 1987, as one unit of a parent organization – Bethlehem Training Center. The Training Center provided training and employment in textile handicrafts, garment making and other technical skills for nearly 200 women, most of whom were single mothers from the poorest sections of Ethiopian society. The pre-school Day Care program made
it possible for the mothers to work, become self-supporting and achieve some measure of improvement in their standard of living.
Due to the takeover of the property by the Government in 2002, the women formed a Cooperative and eventually continued their employment at a new location. The Day Care Program became a new Project under Agreement with the Government, renting property to conduct the program. At our present site, Day Care is provided for 125 children, ages 3 to 7 years old. Local Government offices help us to identify youngsters from very needy, marginalized families, A Sponsorship Program gives assistance to children from the start of primary school to the completion of secondary school – paying school fees and related costs, including medical expenses, for more than 150 youngsters. Parent Education sessions cover topics such as health, hygiene, child care, HIV/Aids, harmful traditional practices, etc. There is a support group for mothers who are HIV positive, most of them recipients of anti-retroviral drugs. A Savings & Credit Program offers training in basic business skills, followed by loans to the mothers of the children, enabling them to pursue a variety of income-generating activities. One hundred ten women are currently active participants, each day building their self-confidence and their own little world of entrepreneurship.
Sr. Mary James Clines
After 14 years of ministry in our mission in southern Ethiopia, I have returned to Addis Ababa and in October 2009, began a Literacy Program for the mothers of the children at Bethlehem Center. Twenty-four women expressed interest in this new program, and a social worker accompanied me on visits to their homes. This was followed by an organizational meeting with the mothers, setting the time and days for the sessions. Classes are conducted in a tent-like dining room of the children. The women are interested, happy and learning fast. In addition to learning Amharic (the native language), they have also expressed the wish to learn English, so a short portion of the class is spent giving them some familiarity with English as well. Each day they have Gospel reading and we had a small Christmas party with them, complete with snack and exchange of little gifts.
The Chaplain of the International Community in our parish church has asked me to give religious instruction to two young women from Mozambique in preparation for their receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation in May. One of the girls is a pre-med student and the other is in Grade 10. It is a joy to assist in this ministry.
Sr. Carmelita Medenilla