Bekele Haile, Tigist Zeleke, Zeritu Bulti and Fita Tulu minister to prisoners outside of Addis Ababa. (photo: Don Duncan)
CNEWA’s support of prison chaplaincies in Ethiopia began in February 2016, notes our regional director in Addis Ababa, Argaw Fantu. “The Rev. Abba Girma Firissa, chaplain for the program, approached us seeking funding and I agreed to visit three prisons in the program. During my visit, I asked one of the administrators why so many were behind bars. The immediate response: ignorance, illiteracy and poverty.
“I asked, ‘How?” The response: ‘Due to ignorance to human value, one may kill his neighbor who shares farm land of common boundary; due to illiteracy in some villages, people quarrel for minor things and commit crimes by killing one another; due to poverty, minor theft can lead someone to spend years in prison cells.’ ”
Seeing this need, CNEWA agreed to help fund education and outreach to the prisoners. The chaplaincy, while active in 11 prisons in the Archeparchy of Addis Ababa, only has the resources to perform intensive, in-person work in four, such as the work highlighted here. The chaplaincy’s budget is a modest $12,000 a year — and is subsidized by grants in part from CNEWA.
To help support this valuable ministry, call: 1-800-442-6392 (United States) or 1-866-322-4441 (Canada).