Addis’ homeless come from elsewhere

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A recent study from the Addis Ababa City Administration Bureau of Labor and Social Affairs indicates that 92 percent of people who are homeless in Addis Ababa have come from other regions outside the Capital.
Most people begging on the street have come from the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s region, Oromia and Amhara Regional states. Only eight percent of those grew up in Addis. There are around 51,000 beggars and street children living in Addis. Of these 78 percent are between 13 and 45 years of age. In many cases these people end up in prostitution. Most street begging occurs in Kikos, Ledeta, Arada and Bole Sub Cities.
According to the city’s draft law, prostitutes, homeless children and beggars cannot ask for money in public places including transport services and parking areas as well as along the streets of Addis Ababa. A person giving money to beggars will face a 2,000 birr fine.
Endashaw Abera, Social Welfare Director at the Bureau told Capital that begging on the city streets is a disease that eats into the fabric of social, economic, religious, political and educational structures.
“We are in trouble, the number of street children is increasing and some able-bodied people who instead of doing some work, undertake to begging as their profession. We are drafting a law to stop it and returning some to their families and for others we will provide jobs,” he said.
“Street begging affects not only the geographical and social structure of urban areas; it also portrays the country in a bad light to tourists and foreign visitors. The simplest and most humane way to get rid of beggars is to stop giving them money. As soon as begging is not profitable, they will find something else to do to earn a living. If you have a culture of begging, it means that you also have a culture of giving money to beggars. You must educate the people who are giving the money to organize and find a more constructive way to help,” he said.
Some sociologists recommend that the government build the economy and create jobs before banning the beggars from the street. Currently the city administration is building a shelter at Kality for elders, young girls and women and children who are on the street. So far 250 people have joined the shelter but there is room for more. Eight NGOs have agreed to work with the city administration to help people transition from begging.