December 29, 2006

Woman sells possessions to build a children's home in Ethiopia

Rosanne Zammit

Monica Tonna Barthet with some of "her" children near the home for sick street children, which is under construction in Addis Ababa.

Work on a home for sick street children in Ethiopia, being funded by 70-year-old Monica Tonna Barthet, is on schedule.

Ms Tonna Barthet is building the home in Addis Ababa under the umbrella of the Kebena Kidane Mihret Catholic Church. She bought the land earlier this year, construction started soon after and the home should hopefully take in its first children in March.

The primary objective of the Angels Children's Home is to provide care and support for about 25 sick street children by creating a nurturing environment where the children can live together as a family.

The project will provide them with food, shelter, clothing and medical assistance together with psychological support and counselling with a view to giving them the chance to experience love, friendship and discipline.

The project will mainly target six- to 16-year-olds, most of whom will come from the Mother Teresa Missionaries of Charity Sisters' Home. They would be children who have been treated at the Mother Teresa Home but have no place to go.

To be able to attain this project, Ms Tonna Barthet sold all her worldly possessions in Malta and has settled in Addis Ababa.

As a young woman, Ms Tonna Barthet loved life and lived it to the full. She had a good job with the United Nations and although she had always wanted to do voluntary work, little did she dream that, in time, Ethiopia would become her home.

Ms Tonna Barthet said yesterday she was looking forward to celebrating the Ethiopian Christmas, on January 7, with "her" children.

Donations to help with the running of the home can be deposited at HSBC Angels Children's Home account, 006043020051.

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