Rich people write diaries

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Zurich / Debre Berhan, December 17, 2020 - People for people guides children and young people to keep a diary. Writing helps them get through the Corona period better.


“I used to wake up in the morning and look forward to the day. Now I'm scared, ”Eremias writes in his diary. “That I bring the virus home and infect someone in the family. When we get sick, we have to buy medicine. Then we have no more money for anything else. Not even for food. "


The 15-year-old lives in a poor neighborhood in the Ethiopian city of Debre Berhan. There cares People for people around a thousand children from the poorest families. Eremias and his three younger brothers are also part of the project. The aim is to show life perspectives through educational support for children and professional support for parents. The families should find their way out of extreme poverty and become independent of help. But since the beginning of the corona pandemic in March 2020, acute crisis management has also been a concern.


Eremias and his brothers regularly receive food parcels because the mother can no longer find odd jobs as domestic help in the Corona crisis. In addition, the Swiss aid organization focuses on mental health. The schools were closed for six months, and the children and young people in narrow slum apartments were left to their own devices. Distance digital learning is not an option. There are no computers and no internet connection in the huts.


Diaries as spiritual support

The social workers from People for people make house calls in compliance with distance and hygiene rules, comfort children and advise parents. Among other things, they issue diaries. Writing is a spiritual support in the Corona time. "If you put your worries on paper, you can cope with them more easily," says social worker Etalemahu: "What you write from your soul hurts less."


"Some of the children allowed our employees to read selected pages and quote from them," says Kelsang Kone, managing director of People for people. "Some diaries are a reflection of the stress that children in particular have to endure at this time, even for our specialists."


The corona crisis is apparently increasing the burden of many adolescents. Yerus is the daughter of an HIV positive mother. “Whenever Mama eats something, she vomits. I look into their eyes and I'm scared of losing them. I'm sadder than I can ever explain to anyone. Dear God, let my mom get well! ”Writes the 13-year-old. The loneliness in the pandemic is particularly troubling for the girl: “I can't expect mom to worry. I can hardly see my friends because of Corona. That's why I sometimes feel desperate. Fortunately, I have the diary. In it I write about beautiful and sad experiences and paint pictures. That makes me easier. " Eremias expresses himself in a similar way: “I remember the bad and the good things. When I write, I think about everything, it's like an anchor for me. "


But the children and young people also write about their dream of a better future. Eremias like Yerus are members of student theater groups, and both look forward to rehearsals and performances when the pandemic is over. «I would really like to be an actress! Or a director or a poet, ”writes Yerus. «I would like to help people with my pieces. Just like the poems I write in my diary help me. " In a poem she thinks about fear. "Be careful and circumspect, but not fearful," she writes. "Because fear leads you nowhere." Elsewhere, the girl formulates a life motto: “I have recognized that the greatest joy is helping others. I want many people to erect monuments for me. But not of stone, but in her heart. "


People for people works against poverty and hunger. The foundation was founded by the actor Karlheinz Böhm (1928 - 2014). In the spirit of the founder, the Swiss aid organization creates life prospects for the poorest families in Ethiopia. The aim of the work is that they can live in a decent manner in their home country. The individual projects focus on the advancement of women, vocational training, microcredits, child aid, family planning and agricultural development. The components are combined according to local needs and implemented with carefully selected local partners.


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