One student, Zeru, recently found himself homeless. With a mother who suffers from severe mental health issues rendering him unable to live with her, he had no place to go. For a few months, he found himself sleeping alone in “Koshe” (the trash dump). Not only was he forced to sleep in “Koshe,” he had to find his food there as well.
Unfortunately, Zeru did not have any close relatives to call upon to take him in and give him a place to live. The few months he had spent in the trash dump were tough. He was worried about his life, given the many risks there. Fortunately, Zeru was able to survive despite the hardships he experienced.
After the Ethiopian New Year, when schools re-opened and began registering students, many OA students were excited to return to school after the forced shut-downs due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Unfortunately, this time was not exciting for Zeru. Rather it brought deep sorrow. He could not wrap his mind around going to school when he did not even have a roof over his head.
This was when the OA staff decided to do something about the situation. They went out of the regular parameters of our project to start looking for a foster family who could take care of Zeru. Surprisingly, a former OA student and graduate, Abdulhakim, stepped forward and said he was willing to take in Zeru and take care of him “like a younger brother.”
We were so excited to hear this! Here are the exact words Abdulhakim spoke to our staff when he stepped forward to take care of Zeru:
“I am Abdulhakim Adem. I studied surveying and graduated from the OA in 2019. I am so happy to get where I am now to take care of my brother, Zeru.
I knew Zeru since childhood when we went to boarding school. When I saw Zeru on the trash dump, I promised he wouldn’t remain there. I must do something about it.
I am glad things worked out this way. It would not work when we started the process, but everything is in place now. I do not want to say this is what I am going to do with Zeru’s life.
Rather, the fruits will be seen when we meet the goal, when Zeru grows up to be a wise young man, accomplish his study, and be successful. I am happy to be able to take care of him and support him.
Because it reminds me where I was and what I overcame! Now, Zeru has got a mentor who has been through his struggles! This makes him lucky!”
Now, Zeru has a place to stay and friends who are like brothers to look after him. To this, he said, “I am so happy to have Abduhakim as my foster family and mentor. I can learn better now. I am hopeful and got a reason not to give up! I am grateful to OA for stepping out of the regular way to accommodate my needs. I am grateful for being surrounded by such caring young men who are like brothers to me.”