Protection of children of convicts in Ethiopia

The new project in Ethiopia focuses on the rights of children with imprisoned parents in Ethiopia. The situation is harrowing as showed a visit in a regional prison 120 km North of Addis Ababa:

„47 women live together with 16 children in the same place with only 24 beds. The children have to share the bed or floor with the mother. There is no running water, the sanitary provisions are very poor and out of order because there is no running water. Nothing is provided for the children: no toys, education, medical care, beds, clothes, they have to share the food ration belonging to their mothers (3 times a day an injera, no vegetables, no fruits). The children live a very long time in prison, the oldest were 9 at the moment, they have to stay till they are 12, sometimes even longer.”

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With this new project Morning Tears strives to awareness of the problem with the Ethiopian government and it’s responsibility towards the children of prisoners. Morning Tears acts in close cooperation and in a constructive way together with the Ethiopian government with the goal to realize shelter and structures to improve the life of children in prison with their mothers.

To achieve this Morning Tears will set up an example project in Fiche prison, will give policy advice and develop and provide training skills.

Therefore a Memorandum Of Understanding was signed between Morning Tears, the Federal Supreme Court Child Justice Project Office and the Federal Prison Authority.

Visit to the Federal Prison Kaliti in Addis Ababa on 25 March 2015

On a courtyard surrounded by the sleeping halls with bunk beds live up to 600 women. In 2 ‚rooms’ are 50 woman with children, here no bunk beds but in each room the beds are put one to another so there is no way to walk to a bed, you have to climb the beds to reach your own. On each bed there is a mother with a small child. The youngest baby is 7 days old. 24 hours a day the mothers sit and lay on that bed with their child. There is no space to walk, the baby’s are not able to learn to crawl or walk. Sanitary situation: 3 holes in the ground where the women have to go to the toilet, no running water, no curtains or anything, so no hygiene and no privacy. It is open to the room where the women live.

The mothers with the baby’s dare not go out in the courtyard where the other prisoners sit during the day. It is muddy with rocky stones and very oneven. Impossible for a small kid. There is a lot of violence between the women and they can attack the small children out of frustration, so a non-go zone for the mothers with children.

At the age of 3 the children have leave the prison. Some of them have no one to take care of them and end up in an orphanage run by the government. No contact anymore with their mothers.

What can Morning Tears Belgium do

  1. Provide training for the guards in the women's prison to help them to give educational guidance to the mothers to improve the development of their children.
  2. We dream of being able to build a separate room for mothers with children in the Federal Kalilti Prison with the necessary equipment for the children. The prison provides us the land to build on. This however requires a lot of money.
  3. In the prison in Fiche we will decorate a building that is provided to us in the prison especially for mothers with children. We will provide all the necessary equipment for the children. We will employ a caretaker, teacher and cook. We will provide a day home in prison where the children can have education, get a healthy meal, do sports and art activities, get psychological counseling and medical care before they go back to their mothers  at night.
  4. We will set up a cooperation with a project in Bishoftu, where children with a parent in prison can make their homework, get a healthy meal, do sports and art activities and get psychological counseling and medical care.
  5. Implement a toolkit for child development tracking in infants living with their mother in prison.

Implementation of the project in Fiche

July 2015 the classroom was taken in use. The children are provided with education and eat 3 healthy meals a day. School supplies and toys were bought and a teacher, caretaker and cook were employed.

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Morning Tears Belgium is a 100 % volunteer run organization and depends on your donations.

You can support this project with your donation on:

Morning Tears België vzw
Bank: ING
IBAN: BE 24 3631 4405 4538