Flag_of_EthiopiaEthiopia, officially known as the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is Africa’s oldest independent country and according to legend, the Ethiopian kingdom was founded by Solomon’s and the queen of Sheba’s first son, Menelik I, in the 10th century B.C.

With approximately 92 million residents, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world and the second-most populated nation on the African continent. Ethiopia is rich in both history and culture. Almost every visit to a house or hut will include being treated to a traditional coffee ceremony and a warm welcome leaving one feeling like both an honored guest and a member of the family.

Ethiopia is located on the East side of the continent of Africa in the so-called “horn” of Africa. Ethiopia primarily borders Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan and Sudan. Approximately 63% of Ethiopians claim Christianity as their religion and 34% Islam. While Amharic is the official language, there are over 90 individual languages spoken in the country of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has approximately 4.6 million orphans (as defined by Unicef as having lost one or both parents), 800,000 of which were orphaned by AIDS. Not unlike other countries of Africa, the vast majority of these orphans are cared for by a surviving parent or by extended family. While the number of orphans is quite high, most of these children are not in need of adoption. The majority of orphans are cared for within their communities by extended family.

The estimated overall prevalence of HIV in Ethiopia is 1.4 % of the population (2.2 million people). The percentage is as low as .2% in some areas and as high as 6% in others.

Project HOPEFUL’s programs in Ethiopia seek to address not only the needs of women who have HIV and are struggling to support themselves, but also to reach deeply within communities to prioritize family preservation so the widow who has HIV can keep her children.

Our desire is that families and communities would be able to care for their orphans. Thus, Project HOPEFUL works to ensure that the children’s physical and spiritual needs are met and that they have access to education. Specifically, Project HOPEFUL manages child sponsor programs, fresh water initiatives, empowerment through business programs, etc.