Abebech Gobena (Amharic: አበበች ጎበና; Afan Oromo: Abbabachi Goobanaa; 1938 – 4 July 2021) was an Ethiopian humanitarian, and the founder and manager of AGOHELMA, one of the oldest orphanages in Ethiopia. She was often called the Mother Teresa of Africa.
|Died||4 July 2021 (aged 82–83)|
|Burial place||Holy Trinity Cathedral, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia|
Life and careerEdit
Abebech was born in 1938 in a small rural village in Showa Province called Shebel. Her father was killed during the second Ethio-Italian war, so she was raised by her grandparents until the age of nine. At the age of 10, she was married without her consent, but she ran away to the capital, Addis Ababa. There, she managed to get basic education and later worked as a quality controller at a coffee and grain company.
She went to Gishen Mariam, Wollo Province, for pilgrimage in 1973. At the time, the area was severely stricken by famine. In a feeding center, Gobena saw a child next to her dead mother. She distributed the only thing she had to other victims, a loaf of bread and five liters of holy water, and brought the child along with another orphan to her home in Addis Ababa. In one year, she brought 21 children to her home.
Today, AGOHELMA, the association she founded, provides various services in addition to the orphanage itself, including formal and non-formal education, HIV/AIDS prevention activities, habitat improvement and infrastructure development, empowerment of women, among others. Additionally, it provides institutional care for 150 orphans. Since its establishment, over 12,000 needy children have been supported by the association with over 1.5 million people having benefited either directly or indirectly from the association in different regions of the country.
In June 2021, Abebech's health worsened from COVID-19 and she was hospitalized at St. Paul's Hospital in Addis Ababa. However, she died from the complications on 4 July 2021. Her burial took place on 6 July at Holy Trinity Cathedral with government officials and mourners. Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Abune Matias, President of Oromia Regional State Shimelis Abdisa, Deputy Mayor of Addis Ababa Adanech Abebe and other public figures were also attended in the funeral.
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- "Renowned humanitarian Abebech Gobena dies". Welcome to Fana Broadcasting Corporate S.C. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
- demoz. "Prominent Ethiopian Philanthropist Abebech Gobena Dies aged 85 | Ethiopian News Agency". Retrieved 4 July 2021.
- "Ethiopia's Beloved Humanitarian Abebech Gobena laid to rest in Saint Trinity Cathedral". Welcome to Fana Broadcasting Corporate S.C. Retrieved 6 July 2021.