Our role: Seahorse Nursery partners with the charity Friends of Adwa to sponsor Hiyab T/Waini who was born in 2015 (exact birth date unknown as birth dates are not registered in many African Countries). Hiyab lives with her mother in a catholic mission in Adwa which is on the Tigray region close to the Eritrean border.

How we got involved? One of our parents Barbara Gaoin, whose children attended the pre-school between 2011 – 2017, came to talk to us in 2016 about the work of Friends of Adwa and we formed a partnership between Seahorse Nursery and Friends of Adwa. Barbara’s parents both spend a number of months out in Adwa each year; her father is a doctor and her mother a paediatrician and they both provide medical assistance in the mission to the local community. Barbara continues to return to the nursery for workshops about Hiyab and to make festive cards with Seahorse children to send to the children at the mission in Ethiopia. We felt having a personal link means we can communicate directly with the mission and keep in regular contact about Hiyab’s wellbeing and development.

About the mission: The Salesian mission in Adwa works in the spirit of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello, following their charisma in educating. The Salesian Preventive System is an educative method developed by the Salesians upon the pedagogical experience of Saint John Bosco with poor youngsters in 19th century Turin. It is based on three pillars: reason, religion and loving-kindness.  From its foundation, the goals have been to:

  • Evangelise, educating through the school and introduction into the workforce
  • Defend life in all its forms
  • Work so that it is the Ethiopians who change Ethiopia and make youth the protagonists of their own future
  • Identify potential leaders and prepare them as “formators”
  • Guide the local people from a traditionally agricultural and pastoral economy (no longer sustainable) to an artisanal, cooperative, industrial economy
  • Encourage private initiatives and 3rd sector activities
  • Promote the empowerment of women, who have always faced discrimination
  • Create conditions for an economic upswing to free the people from poverty and dependence
  • Create conditions by which the people can make free and informed choices, including religious ones
  • Ensure the mission’s future financial independence in terms of normal operation.

The mission works with all the religious and civil entities in the area, the Catholic Secretariat and Religious Congregations, Representatives from Churches of various denominations, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour, the UN civil protection and peace forces, factories, merchants, professionals, artisans, farmers and Associations.

The missions works for:

  • The weakest categories, women and children
  • The youth, prioritising girls
  • Illiterate adults
  • Girls at risk (prevention)
  • Girls and women who are already involved in prostitution, often simply to feed themselves (rescue)
  • Single mothers, abandoned/abused wives, widows.
  • Orphans of war or AIDS
  • Literate adults that require retraining