Mulunesh Geta (13) from Bahir Dar, Ethiopia was 11 when she left the countryside for the big city to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor.
"Two years ago, I came to Bahir Dar. My mother died when I was very little. My father cannot take care of me and my four brothers and sisters because of illness. Also, the schools here are better than in the countryside where I come from. I could go to an aunt who already lived in Bahir Dar. But she couldn't buy me school supplies, there was just enough money for food."
"The first year I went to school in a discarded uniform. It was worn to the bone and after a year it was completely shattered. But without a uniform you can't go to school. It looked like I'd have to quit school. Because of where we live, a slum area in the middle of Bahir Dar's entertainment centre, and my aunt's low income, we now get help. My aunt setting up her own business, me with school supplies.
During an official ceremony these school supplies were handed over; school uniform, exercise books, pens, pencils and a school bag. With my own uniform I feel the same as the others at school. I would like to continue my studies and become a doctor."
In East Africa, more and more children are victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Especially young girls like Mulunesh are lured from the countryside to the city by recruiters under false pretences. They think they can go to school or get a good job. In reality, they fall prey to sexual exploitation. The reason children respond to recruiters' promises is simple: they are driven by poverty.
In order to combat sexual exploitation of children in East Africa, Terre des Hommes focuses, among other things, on children from families and communities that are vulnerable to sexual exploitation. We make parents or carers from these communities aware of the existence of sexual exploitation, we also train law enforcement officers, such as police officers. And we teach parents or guardians how to improve their income so that they and their children are less likely to respond to the empty promises of recruiters. Mulunesh is a wonderful example of the success of the program.