February 2020: Perspectives for orphans – the example of Bakela

Mesele Misgan, known as «Bakela», was born in the small village of Genetemariam, about 30 km east of Lalibela, and is now 20 years old. Since childhood, he has faced a variety of challenges.

Bakela knows little or hardly anything to tell about his parents when Mesay asked him a few days ago. The father died when Bakela was two years old, the mother lost Bakela as a nine-year-old boy. The neighbors and relatives told the child from its early years. The father was actually an efficient farmer, the mother took care of the housekeeping and looked after Bakela. He was her only child. Then the mother died. Life becomes very difficult for Bakela. There was no place for the relatives. There were already many children and Bakela there, rather shy and without strong muscles to tackle in agriculture, suffered from the feeling of being worthless and unnecessary.

On a Saturday, it was still dark, the eleven-year-old asks to be taken to Lalibela. There is a weekly market in Lalibela on Saturday. On the same day, Bakela disappears into Lalibela’s “new world”. It was his intention to give his life a new perspective – without constant hunger and dependence. He sleeps on the side of the road, wrapping himself in a scruffy blanket. The next are cold at 2500 meters. Here he found his future friends – Guantanamo, Senafure, Seifu, Assefa and many others who were to keep our foundation busy for many years and until today.

Bakela is almost at the beginning of a PBF activity that, to this day, not only requires a great deal of financial effort, but above all requires personal support, advice and encouragement from those responsible for PBF on site to ensure the success of this increasingly large number of orphans. The Foundation has always seen one of its very own tasks here. Mehary Girma, a young, well-educated teacher from Lalibela, took on this task full time. Since he was very well networked in Lalibela, he has built well-functioning social structures that are still completely lacking in Lalibela to this day. This will be described in detail in a separate report later.

Our children, orphans, including Bakela, live on the streets and tell each other their “experiences” with tourists, where they catch a few birr prey during the day – if they were lucky. They bought something to survive, collected leftover food from cafes or hotels.

At the age of 14, Bakela, along with many others, was accepted by the Foundation’s responsible persons, Girma and Getachew. This means a completely new beginning and is the happiest day of his life for Bakela. From his point of view today everything changed at the time, as he tells Mesay, the trustee today in Lalibela. The orphans found accommodation in a specially rented building, visited the schools regularly and even became the best in their class. Certificates still available today show excellent performance by these boys. PBF is proud of “his orphans” and receives high recognition from school administrators! The foundation has managed to gain valuable experience in this area. At this point, Mehary, who had created these structures in an unselfish manner, must be mentioned again with great thanks. His departure from his work was extremely close to him. After studying social work in England, Mehary works for an NGO in the city of Kombolcha.

Leading towards responsible independence is one of PBF’s goals. Bakela felt the “tightness” of the residential structure in the home, left the orphanage and put all her hope back to PBF. In a recent conversation with Mesay, he said: “As always, he is putting all his trust in the foundation.”

Bakela finished her compulsory education at the 10th year of school. This was followed by training in the vocational school in the hotel operations department. Bakela found no employment. There are still no vacancies nationwide. The jobs are passed on to relatives and friends. Bakela stands alone for himself. He sees the only support at PBF.

Bakela’s expectations should not be disappointed. Together with two other boys from the orphanage, he opens a small electronics store in a container. The material is picked up in Addis Ababa and resold at a profit. The three achieved good results and ran the business for almost two years. But at odds with each other, they dissolved the business and went their own way.

But PBF has not forgotten Bakela, his very long affiliation with our foundation. The other two colleagues from the electronics store are also in close contact with PBF and are advised and accompanied by Mesay.

Bakela went to Addis Ababa after his business closed

But PBF has not forgotten Bakela, his very long affiliation with our foundation. The other two colleagues from the electronics store are also in close contact with PBF and are advised and accompanied by Mesay.

Bakela went to Addis Ababa after his shop was closed. He wanted to continue studying, after all he had the prerequisites for it. But Bakela was faced with major problems of existence in this metropolis. He suffered from loneliness, illness, was dependent on circles that were not conducive to him. We brought him back to Lalibela to make sense of his life here as always. It is now planned to purchase a gaming table that remains the property of PBF and that will bring Bakela some income. Football games and films should also be able to be viewed on a DSTV TV set. There are very few options available for this in Lalibela. There is good reason to hope that Bakela will have a promising perspective.


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