Oromiya is the largest region of Ethiopia, with by far the bulk of its residents living in the countryside.
Socio-economic problems and religious conflict have ravaged the region and many struggle with problems associated with these issues.
Children suffer from poverty and deprivation
Jimma (also spelled, Jima) is the biggest city of Oromiya, which in turn is the biggest region of Ethiopia, with over 27 million people living there mostly in rural areas. The Oromo are the major ethnic group of the region.
Recent socio-economic developments have caused a steady increase in the cost of living in Oromiya. With food and clothing costs increasing faster than the incomes of those at the bottom, many are falling into poverty even if they were earning enough to get by fairly recently.
Access to healthcare and education has also fallen as local costs of these have increased as well. Such local inflation has been measured at 55.4% between 2010 and 2011.
Gender inequality impacts women's ability to help their families
Women have an average of 6.2 children each in Oromiya, the highest such rate in Ethiopia. As with other parts of the country this is down to traditional values but also a lack of education on contraception. Girls also marry at an early age in the country, and have babies from a relatively early age.
Such fertility impacts on the ability of breadwinners to make ends meet. One has to have a large income to feed a large family. However there is a major gender inequality gap where it comes to education in the region. Only 29.5% of women are literate by comparison to 61.5% of men. Such literacy inequality impacts on women's ability to earn as much as men. Many have to rely on their partners for an income.
SOS Children's work in Jimma
We began our work in Jimma in 2012, and run a social centre which reaches out to the whole community as well as family based care for children who are no longer able to live with their parents.
Our social centre works into the community in a number of ways. We have family strengthening programmes which aim at giving families self reliance and economic autonomy. We offer counselling and psychological support to those in need. While parents are at work, we can look after up to 450 children through our childcare and nursery facilities. Here they are fed, and given lessons in basic literacy and numeracy skills to give them the best possible start in life.
We run a medical centre which can reach up to 6000 patients each year. It offers, amongst others, consultation and treatment, minor surgery, vaccination, family planning, ante and post natal care, voluntary HIV testing and preventative health education.
A new family home for orphans
Children in the region who can no longer live with their parents are able to live in our Children's Village and belong to an SOS family. Children live with an SOS Mother and attend school in the local community.
We run an SOS school which has about 640 students in nursery, primary and secondary education. This is for anyone in the community, giving access to education for children who would not ordinarily be able to access it.
As young people grow up and need more independence, they are offered places through our SOS youth programme. This is a system of shared, supported housing where children can live while attending further education or vocational training. Qualified youth counsellors guide them to full independence.
Jimma is home to our newest Children's Village in Ethiopia. Young lives are being transformed in this special community. Be part of this transformation, and sponsor a child today.