I Share Hope

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Story. Action. Hope.

Stories about hope and ways to share hope

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Nega Meaza

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“They will tell you it’s because of their family situation, because of the problem they have, because of poverty, they will say, “ We have no hope.”, but it’s not true. Everybody has hope. I really believe that some of them will be leaders in Ethiopia and beyond. So, the hope is inside the human being, but my part is to show that hope. That’s what we are managing with many street children, boys and girls.”— Nega Meaza

Nega Meaza, Christian, Ethiopian, Humanitarian, Director of Onesimus Children Development Association (OCDA).

OCDA seeks to rescue Ethiopia’s children at risk, ensuring they remain in or return to a loving family by providing holistic programs that meet their physical, emotional, developmental and spiritual needs.



 

15: Nega Meaza: 4 million orphans and even more hope. #isharehope

“They had no hope. They were trying to kill themselves and they were talking bad thing about themselves. Now if we ask them they will say, I want to be a doctor, I want to do the same thing. Helping others is the best thing that a human being can do because for me, every day I see they fight each other. They will tell you it’s because of their family situation, because of the problem they have, because of poverty they will say we have no hope, but it’s not true. Everybody has hope. I really believe that some of them will be leaders in Ethiopia and beyond. So, the hope is inside the human being, but my part is to show that hope and that’s what we are managing with many street children, boys and girls. I’m Nega Meaza, director of Onesimus Children Development Association from Ethiopia and I share hope.”– Nega Meaza

Intro:

Welcome to I Share Hope! The podcast where world leaders share their real stories of hope and how you can use actionable hope to start changing your life today and now here’s your host, Chris Williams.

Chris Williams:

Nega, tell me a little more about you. Who are you? Where are you located? What do you do every day? Give us a little picture of what a day in the life of Nega looks like.

Nega Meaza:

My name is Nega Meaza, the director of Onesimus Children Development Association here at the capital city of Ethiopia. We work with three different kind of groups. The first one is full time street children, the other group is orphans and the third group is like poor children and their family. Every day, I do not just spend my time with street children, we have programs like we go to drop in center which is a safe place for children. Every day they come to the drop in center and they eat breakfast and lunch there and take a shower and we teach character and other things. It’s really a safe place for them.

Mainly what we’re doing is we try to show the reality like which one is best, the street or the real life? It’s kind of a screening process for us. The next step is we reintegrate them with their families. These children came to the streets with many different reasons, but we reintegrate them with their families, reinforce with their families, that’s our goal. After three years, after five years, we reintegrate them back to their families. There are some children that are not able to reintegrate with their families. We have Happy House for them. It’s a temporary transition house for them. These children can be orphans or neglected or they have no place anywhere. We have a house for girls and boys, that’s the second program that we’re running.

The last one is we got the Save Project. At least there might be some people or guardian to take care of them, but they are not able to support themselves, so we work with the families who have no hopes. We try working with three different groups, the drop in center, the halfway homes or transition homes and Save Project. That’s what we’re doing day to day here at Onesimus at the capital city of Addis Ababa.

Chris Williams:

What city are you in?

Nega Meaza:

Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia.

Chris Williams:

How many orphans are in that city? Is there a large population of orphans?

Nega Meaza:

Yes. Orphans, there is like 4 million orphans in Ethiopia. The street children that we’re working with at the capital city, there are over hundred thousand street children – just in the capital city. All of Ethiopia, we have over 600 street children.

Chris Williams:

Oh my goodness. Wow. So, a hundred thousand street children in your city alone? In the capital city?

Nega Meaza:

Yes.

Chris Williams:

Why are they all orphans? Is there a main reason for that?

Nega Meaza:

I would say HIV is the main one and the other is poverty. People, especially children, they have nothing to eat. It’s true. To be honest, I can’t express how deep the poverty is. It’s very, very deep. Every day we see people that have nothing to eat. They have no house to live in, even clothes. Generally, I would say these children have no hope, so they end up on the street. HIV and poverty are the main ones. There are other small issues like the family is divorced, but mainly HIV and poverty.

Chris Williams:

When you’re mentioning HIV, are you saying that because their parents are dying?

Nega Meaza:

Yes. They become orphans, so they have no hope to go anywhere. There is no place, so they come. For example, I can tell one of our beneficiary, Abel, we found him on the street. He lost his mom and his dad because of HIV. His sister, she took care of him for a while, but after a while she told him I can’t help you anymore, so we found him on the streets. He had no chance to go anywhere, so he came to the streets because it’s everywhere. People, if they don’t have a place, they can sleep on the street.

Chris Williams:

How old was he when he came to you guys or when he went to the streets the first time?

Nega Meaza:

He was 10 years old and now three years he is with us. To be honest, Abel had no hope. He was just trying to kill himself many times and just – he was a Christian actually because of his sister, but he said there is no reason for me to be a Christian and for me to go to church since no one is loving me, even my sister. She is the only one I have, but she said I can’t. He started to live on the street and for the last three years, it was amazing. Totally, Abel was changing.

Chris Williams:

Nega, I’m really curious to the answers to these questions. So, let me ask question number one.

Question 1: What is your definition or belief about hope? How would you define it or a favorite quote about hope?

Nega Meaza:

I would say hope is everything for a person. I can say hope is life. I really attach hope with the future. If you have no hope, you may say I am leaving and you just think about how to die. For me, I would say when I see hope, it’s really amazing. Even in the bible, in many places we can see that we have hope in this world and even beyond. Mainly, I would say that hope is something that we expect, something good or a great thing that we expect in the future. If we have hope, we can change our life. I would say hope is everything or hope is life. Hope really changes us, even the way we think, the way we live and totally change our situation.

Chris Williams:

That’s a great definition. It really is. It’s something that we believe in, it’s something that can change us, change our situation, change our life. That’s really, really great. Thank you.

Question 2: Who has been, in your life, who in your past or currently, who has been around you who has given you a lot of hope.

Nega Meaza:

I would say God. God gives me hope in my situation, in my life and there are people who encourage me like the bible school teachers and leaders in the church, but in my case or my family’s case, God is the hope giver and I really hope in him.

Chris Williams:

Great answer. Tell me, were you orphaned when you were a child or did you have a strong family there?

Nega Meaza:

Yes. I had a strong family. My mom and dad and brothers and sisters.

Chris Williams:

You didn’t have the same experience that a lot of these other kids have while you were on the street?

Nega Meaza:

Yes, but there is something I can mention there. His name is [unclear 0:10:10.8] or we call him Kan. Kan is an orphan and he is like my brother. He has no mom, he has no dad, he has no brother, he has no sister at all. So, like seven or eight years ago, before I started this organization, I met with him and he was living with me. I helped him to go to school. It’s really amazing. He cried for the last time when his mom died, after that he is not able to cry even today. Finally, he graduated from the university and he works for us now and he is married.

I can see why I am working with street children. Helping others is giving hope for them. He had no hope at all, but now he has hope. He would say the same thing because of the experience, what me and my family did for him. He thinks the same. That’s why he joined us to help others.

Chris Williams:

That’s really good. It’s neat to be able to see something so practical happen in front of you with something you got to do. You get to really touch somebody else’s life in a special way. That’s great.

Question 3: Nega, tell me a time in your life when hope was really all you had to reach back to and say, I’ve got to believe this or I’ve got to think or act this way in order to change your own situation?

Nega Meaza:

I think the good thing in our life – I think a good example is our son, Benjamin or we call him Beanie. My wife, she had a problem with pregnancy and in Ethiopia, it’s very hard to give birth for her, two or three times miscarriage and we said we have no hope. I don’t think we’ll have a baby. So, the first time we lost our baby, she was 6 or 7 months pregnant, she was in the hospital for weeks, but then when we lost the baby because of the problem that she had with pregnancy, we said we had no hope. It was really amazing – I call our son a miracle son. God raised someone from America and they emailed us and they covered everything and we went to America and we were able to have our first son, Benjamin. Now we have that baby, he is two years and two months old. It’s hope because I really believe that nothing is impossible for God.

Chris Williams:

That’s great, great story. I’m so glad you had Benjamin. That’s really great. He’s two years old now?

Nega Meaza:

Two years and two months now.

Chris Williams:

Wow. Congratulations. That’s great and your wife, is she healthy now too?

Nega Meaza:

Yes.

Chris Williams:

Good. That’s great to hear.

The question is really targeted towards what are you doing today to share hope? But, I tell you, you’ve already told me so many things that you and your family are doing right now to share hope with other people, so you may have already answered that question with all your work, with the orphanage and so many other places around your city that you’re reaching in into this group of a hundred thousand orphaned children. It’s amazing.

Question 4:  Is there anything else you’d want to say about how you’re practically sharing hope today? How you’re doing that on your own?

Nega Meaza:

I’m extremely happy with what I’m doing. I’m very happy. I see the real church that many children that we started seven years ago, they were just on the street, now they are the same with other people. They had no hope, they were trying to kill themselves and they were talking bad things about themselves. Now if we ask them they will say, I want to be a doctor, I want to do the same thing. Helping others is the best thing that a human being can do because for me every day I see like the drop in center children, they fight each other. They will tell you it is because of their family situation, because of the problem they have, because of poverty they will say we have no hope, but it’s not true. Everybody has hope. When you deal with the situation, they will tell you that oh, I did not see this side. Now, I really believe that some of them will be leaders in Ethiopia and beyond.

The hope is inside the human being, but my part is to show that hope for the people, for the children. That’s what we are managing with many street children, boys and girls.

Chris Williams:

That’s a great one. That’s really amazing. I love the quote you said in there too. I don’t think you were trying to just throw a quote out there, but you said the greatest thing you can do is help other humans. I think that is so true. It’s amazing how much it changes me when I help somebody else. It actually helps me too.

Nega Meaza:

Exactly.

Chris Williams:

Nega, you obviously know a lot about sharing hope and you’ve worked through this a lot for your whole life. How would you tell somebody like me who’s learning how to share hope? We have so many people that are listening to this that are really interested in sharing hope more in their own lives, they want to grow as a person of hope or they want to share it more to their community. How would you tell somebody like me or the people who are listening, here’s what you should do next? No matter where you are in the world, here’s what you should do next to start sharing hope or start building hope in your own life.

Nega Meaza:

I think the first thing that I would tell someone who really wants to share hope, I would say don’t be selfish. We, human being, always we think about ourselves. Being selfish, we can’t be blessed. When we share that hope with others, we are helping ourselves as well. The main reason I would say is when I help someone, I get satisfaction. When I see someone who is in the street, I worry these children will think there is no hope. I will tell, just we start sharing for others and we will get satisfaction for ourselves. We think that money can give satisfaction or life of luxury, but still I can tell you the true story of that, what’s going on with the street children.

The street children, they sleep more than me because they have no hope. They say, okay, I can’t do anything with my – so I have to sleep day and night or something like that. I would say, just start sharing hope for others. When you do that you will get satisfaction. That’s the first thing. If you are thinking for yourself every day, just for yourself only, I don’t think you will get satisfaction. I will say just go ahead and help others, go ahead and share hope for others and you will get satisfaction. That’s when the real satisfaction comes, when you share hope for others. That’s real life.

Many people think that these children are cursed and nobody loves them especially in our situation. Even the [unclear 0:19:23.4], but it’s not true. When you see them, if you share, you will say wow hope I inside them. I will say for anyone who listens to this, I will say let’s share hope for them and we will get satisfaction.

Chris Williams:

Thank you very much for sharing so much hope with me and thank you so much for the really practical tips there of – if you’re selfish, you’re not going to have satisfaction. If you want to grow as a person of hope or you want to share more hope, just simply start sharing hope, start helping others, start thinking of others first. So easy and simple to say and so hard to do to think about somebody besides myself, but you’re right. My best days that I enjoy the most are usually the ones that I spend helping somebody else, not just helping myself.

Nega Meaza:

Exactly.

Chris Williams:

So Nega, how can we find out more about what you’re doing? How can we get in touch with you? Do you have Twitter, Facebook or a website? How do you communicate with people?

Nega Meaza:

Mainly I just use email, but we have website, Onesimus website and we have Facebook as well, but email, I check every day and I answer people.

Chris Williams:

Great. What is the website name?

Nega Meaza:

Onesimuscda.com

Chris Williams:

I’ll put that in the show notes. I think that’s also part of your email address, is that correct?

Nega Meaza:

Yes.

Chris Williams:

I’ll put both of those, the website and the email address in the show notes because I want to make sure that our listeners get a chance to talk to you if they have questions and even if they find a way to support what you’re doing. People have different goals for how they use their resources and their time and their money and I want to make sure that if somebody does want to reach out and support you, they sure know where to find you. Let me see if I can get this email address right. Is it nega.meaza002@gmail.com?

Nega Meaza:

Yes that’s correct.

Chris Williams:

Okay, I’ve got Onesimus Children’s Development with a blue background, is that the right website?

Nega Meaza:

Exactly.

Chris Williams:

I’m going to say it one more time so I get it right for everybody. It’s onesimuscda.webs.com. So, onesimuscda.webs.com.

Nega, we ask everybody the same question on the way out of the interview. Are you still with me? It’s awfully quiet over there.

Nega Meaza:

Yes.

Chris Williams:

Okay. It’s our second day trying to do this, so I want to make sure I don’t lose you today. We ask everybody the same thing. What music do you listen to if you need to get back on track and quit feeling sad about things and get a little hope in your head and your heart? Do you have a favorite band or favorite artist or favorite song you listen to?

Nega Meaza:

It’s hard because I really like – music will be good, but the mic music is not there, so any music that helps us think about the poor and hopeless will be good.

Chris Williams:

Okay. Makes sense to me. You are so focused on helping other people and I respect that. I really do.

Nega Meaza:

I think that’s why Jesus came from heaven – for others. He is god. He can do everything. Just by word he created heaven and earth. He came to help us and he said I came for the poor. That’s merely what we’re doing. I want to spend the rest of my life helping others.

Chris Williams:

Thank you for doing that. I really mean that. I know thousands of others who’ve never met you should thank you for doing that too. They don’t even realize how much you’ve touched their lives already.

Nega, thank you for your time it’s so great to talk to you. It’s so great to hear about you and learn so much. I really appreciate you giving me sometime today.

Nega Meaza:

Thank you Chris. I really appreciate it. I’d like to say ahmesugenalew which is thank you very much.

You’ve just listened to I Share Hope. If you’re ready to make a change, head to our website at isharehope.com and claim your free copy of the Top Ten Actions of Hope from World Leaders to use hope in your own life. Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you next time.

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