Debiyso was the very first street kid we were able to help.
When we first met him he was a sorry sight standing outside a small roadside cafe. Despite spending all day and all night on the street he didn’t even own a pair of shoes. Infact everything he owned he was wearing. A pair of jeans, a tee shirt and a light jacket.
After giving him a bun to eat, something he had never tasted before, we provided him with a “mobile shop”. This consisted of a cardboard box attached around his neck with a piece of string. We gave him some small items to sell in the centre of Shashemene, in the hope that he could earn the equivalent of a few pence. With any proceeds he would then visited one of the local hotels where the owner would sell him their waste food. It was all he could afford.
Before the rapid onset of dusk Debiyso always made sure he found a quiet street or, if it was dry, a ditch where he would sleep hopefully out of the sight of older boys. The threat from older boys is a daily dread for young boys like Debiyso.
Perhaps most distressing of all was his response to our question “What age are you” - he simply shrugged his shoulders and mumbled that he didn’t know. He had been on his own on the streets for many years, and every day was very much like the one that went before and the one that would follow. So I suppose there would be no reason to know when another year passed.
Debiyso has no one to look after him. We know he came from a rural area outside of Shashemene and we know his early childhood was very unhappy. Any questions relating to his father trigger a shut down of his conversation.
What a delight it was for us to invite him along with 4 other boys to become the first boys to live in our Tesfa Manoriya Bota (Hope Home). And what a transformation we have witnessed in this young boy. The deep sadness so apparent in his eyes when we first met him has been replaced with a bright enthusiasm for life. Debiyso has become a real “giver”. He is always looking out for ways to help - whether its new kids who have joined the centre, or even just with doing his chores. Infact he even asked us to accompany him out onto the street one day so we could meet a younger boy whom he knew from his days on the street. His desire was simple - for Khalide to come and live in the centre too. Khalide was a particularly vulnerable child, and thanks to Debiyso, and with the cooperation of the local government, he is now also living at our centre and sharing a room with his “big brother” .
On that first day when we met Debiyso we asked him of his dreams and aspirations to which he replied “to go to school and build big buildings”. In September of 2017 the first part of that dream was fulfilled as he started school for the very first time ever.
The future is genuinely bright for this wonderful child. He has settled really well into school and the headmaster describes him as a great role model for other pupils.
Thank you for helping us rescue Debiyso.