Two University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) researchers departed for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where they gathered first-hand audio and video material for an upcoming documentary production on "Ethiopia Street Youth." The production will provide an in-depth look at how Addis Ababa youth cope with homelessness, and an exploration of the services provided to these children by non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Trip
Dr. Robert Franklin and colleagues traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November, 2008 in conduct research on Ethiopia homeless street youths. The research trip was funded and co-sponsored by Arkansas State University and the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Dr. Franklin collected video and photographic images of Ethiopia’s homeless street youths. Here are some thoughts about my trip, images photographed, and the subsequent photographic exhibit compiled from the trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“During my trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I witnessed conditions that forced Ethiopian youths to live on the streets of Addis Ababa. In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia more than 30% of girls aged 10-14 are not living with their parents. These youths’ lives are being affected by HIV/AIDS, poverty, and staggering homeless rates. Behind their looks, these photographs’ alone cannot capture the suffering endured daily by these youths. ”
The photographic display and video production attempt to provide a glimpse into the lives of street youths, Ethiopia’s most vulnerable population. These street youths do not have access to basic rights such as proper care, education, psychological support and supervision. Often, orphans and other vulnerable children are forced to work to earn an income. They are exposed to various forms of exploitation, including sexual exploitation.
The purpose of this photographic and documentary production is to examine the lived experience of street youths, social supports, coping strategies, gender and stigma; cultural beliefs and practices; and how these youths manage their lives. This will be accomplished by allowing street youths to tell their own stories in their own words. This approach is empowering because it allows the street youths to have a voice in identifying their own strengths and proposing solutions to their problems.