Ellilta Women at Risk is one of CRED’s longest standing partners, based in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. With programmes in Addis as well as a couple of other cities in the country, Ellilta seeks to provide support for women wishing to exit from a life of street-based prostitution.
They do this through providing a year long programme of counselling, health care, peer to peer group support, and skills training – both general life skills, and also workplace skills so that the women can enter new types of employment. They also cover the cost of school fees for the children of the women, and this continues either until the children complete their education, or until the mother is in a stable enough working environment that she can cover the cost of the school fees herself. In this way, the mothers won’t be tempted to return to the streets just in order to pay school fees.
Ellilta don’t just focus on the women however. They also give support to the children through their intervention programme. It is recognised that the chance of a child entering prostitution is stronger if the mother has taken that route in the past, and so Ellilta sees a vital part of their work as supporting the children and young people in making good life choices. Ensuring that they get the best chance at school is another key factor, and both of these are achieved in part through the weekly homework and ‘catch up’ clubs that Ellilta runs.
But those clubs are time-limited due to the early time that it gets dark in sub-saharan Africa, and so in the school holidays, Ellilta maximises on the fact that children are around during the day to run holiday clubs where a lot more focus can be given to empowering the children and young people to make informed, positive choices. This is done through group workshops and one on one support, and the holiday clubs also include art, craft and games times, as well as trips out to places of note in and around the city.
The holiday clubs are enjoyed by adults and young people alike, and definitely rate as a high point in the year for all.