Having worked in Ethiopia for over 16 years, Real Humanitarian has established a proven model to achieve its mission and break the cycle of poverty in Ethiopia. This model is called the ‘Holistic Child Centered Network’ (HCCN) which we run in our nine educational and support centers.
HCCN centers provide comprehensive medical, educational, psychological, and social support to our participants. Each HCCN center works with 50-70 students providing each with educational scholarships to local schools, access to social work and psychological services, annual medical and dental visits, daily hot meals, tutoring/academic support, access to various clubs, empowerment workshops, financial literacy courses, and sports and extra-curricular activities.
In addition to all of our ‘deliverable services’, HCCN centers offer a safe, positive, and loving space that all our participants know they can rely on. They arrive at the center and know those around them care for them, believe in them, and will keep them safe. For most of our participants, this may be the only place they feel this sense of love and security.
Students attend our centers everyday Monday to Friday, and have the option to also visit on Saturdays. On weekends, students come to the center for a shower, to do laundry, braid each other’s hair and comingle.
Each center has running water, shower facilities, a library, study hall, music room, computer lab, and play areas for student activities.
All students in our program are enrolled in local public schools and range from 5-18 years old. All of them are living in situations of extreme poverty, most of which are orphans living with guardians or in foster care.
The Holistic Child-Centered Network (HCCN) model is also inspired by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
The question that drives our program activities and project governance is, “What will help this child to reach their potential?”, and we aim to address the needs identified in each community, and with each child.
Through our HCCN model, we not only address the children’s basic physiological needs, but also provide them with a space of safety, love and belonging where they can develop their sense of self-esteem and reach their highest potential. This model has been in place in our centers since 2005.
That all people are equal.
That the opportunity to reach one’s potential is a basic human right.
That poverty can be eradicated.
That by building children - by helping them to grow intellectually, physically, emotionally, and socially; by fulfilling their needs as they gain an education and discover their talents; by giving them the tools to take control of their own futures - they will grow up and change their world.
In all that we do, we take on a grassroots community driven, holistic, and family centered approach.
We work alongside our local staff and experts to ensure our programs address the most critical needs of children in each community. Our model is customized to suit the unique cultural and social realities of each of our partners. Our programs are run in the children’s local languages, staff come from the local community, and we celebrate local traditions.
We also work in close collaboration with other local organizations and government offices to create a network of impact and locally-driven support.
Research and history have shown that giving a child a meal, providing school supplies, or even paying for a scholarship is not enough to truly lift them out of poverty. To see real change at the individual level and throughout the broader community, we need to address the range of obstacles facing vulnerable children. Our Holistic-Child Centered model is the most comprehensive, time-tested and proven support program available for at-risk children growing up in poverty in Ethiopia, which provides opportunities for healthy emotional, intellectual, social, and physical development.
Though all of our programs are centered around the child’s well-being, we know that their success often relies on their familial support. For this reason, we work hard to provide customized supports to student’s family members so that they can thrive, and provide the support each child needs. Some of the supports we provide for families are entrepreneurship training, alternative income projects, health programs, psychological support, home visits, and occasionally food hampers. Please note, most of the children in our program are orphans and are living in a foster family situation with a surviving grandparent, aunt, uncle, older sibling, or neighbor when they enter our programs. All families are monitored through monthly home visits led by our social work teams.