Our children’s village “Akaki” was founded in 1985 and is located about 20 km south of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, at an altitude of about 2300m.
1984/1985 Ethiopia was struck by a great famine that cost the lives of about 8
million people. Many children lost their parents.
During this time, Paul Kowoll, then director of L’ESPERANCE Children’s Aid, set out to the stricken country to help these children. He traveled alone, almost without money, without knowing anyone or being registered, without a place to stay, without a strong organization behind him, without sufficient knowledge of the language, but with the trust in his heart that God had also given the promises to his mission. And he was able to experience how He opened one door after the other.
In Ethiopia, he met brothers and sisters in the faith who had prayed for help and supported him. And the miracle happened. Just six hours after the first contact with the government, he received free of charge 15 hectares of fertile land on the river just 20 km from the capital. This is where the children’s village was to be built! The city council of Akaki Beseka also provided L’ESPERANCE with a house so that the first children could be taken in right away.
After only 51 days all preparations for the start of the children’s aid in Ethiopia were completed. With the last birr Paul’s luggage was brought to the airport. Without money but with a great responsibility, Paul traveled back to Germany while the local staff got to work. The first orphanage was built on the site and the ground was tilled.
When Paul returned to Ethiopia in February 1986, 23 children were already living in the orphanage. Many of the little ones had seen their parents starve to death or had been weakened by lack of food and disease. Most of them had barely escaped death themselves. It was a great joy for Paul to see how frightened, lonely, malnourished, helpless beings had become happy, laughing, healthy children again.
More orphanages were built, as well as homes for staff. Today, more than 70 orphans live on the premises. In addition, there is a kindergarten, an Adventist school (elementary to high school) with over 1000 students, a boarding school, a large Adventist congregation, a medical outpatient clinic, a teaching farm with horticulture and agriculture, dairy farming, and beekeeping. The current figures are listed under the heading Projects.