Selam: Doin’ It and Doin’ It Right


Well, I can’t put it any better than the folks at Selam did themselves, in their annual ‘Yearbook:’

          Mr. David and Mrs. Marie-Luise Roschli were living with their four children in the outskirts of Addis Ababa running a chicken farm. Tsehay and her sisters and brothers who were neighbors were adopted by the Roschli family after the death of their parents.

          With the advent of the communist regime in Ethiopia the Roschli’s were forced to go back home to Switzerland.

          Tsehay, the oldest of the adopted children, was able to come back to Ethiopia and established Selam Children’s Village in 1986.

          It started its operation by accepting 28 orphaned children as a relief intervention and through time, it expanded its activities to include development through strategic focus on education and skill training.

Needless to say, I was blown away during my visit to Selam. Selam does it right by not only providing room, board, education and healthcare to orphans, but also equipping them with marketable skills, ensuring they will never again face a hopeless future. 

Today, there are over 450 orphans being provided full accommodation: food, clothing, education and health services; there over 4,000 students enrolled in primary and secondary school and nearly 400 students enrolled in Selam Technical and Vocational College.

Depending on the year, somewhere between 20 and 40% of operating costs are covered by various for-profit activities, such as: the production of threshers, beehives, solar ovens, cement mixers, trailers, air compressors, sinks, trashcans, manually operated water pumps, water storage containers, wheels, bushels, bearings, etc. etc. These items are produced primarily by students enrolled in the Technical and Vocational College and Girls Vocational Center. Job placement rates for these students are very high due to their quality training, craftsmanship and work-ethic.

The Girls Vocational Center trains women in international and national food preparation, pastry and baking, cloth making, house keeping, baby sitting and gardening. I can personally vouch for the quality of food and service provided by the onsite restaurant where the women train. The restaurant is open to the public and, needless to say, a seat was hard to find.

In addition to all this, a greenhouse, garden and dairy farm are also operated onsite to allow Selam to operate with minimal dependence on outside inputs. The greenhouse is used to grow hundreds of varieties of native flowers and other plants; some are sold to the public and others are planted throughout the campus. The garden and dairy farm provide superb agricultural training for all of the children (a life skill they will always be able to depend on…as my father never tired of telling me) while simultaneously providing nutritious fruits, vegetables, milk and cheese; any surplus harvest is sold to the public.

Thoroughly impressed and uplifted.

A few pictures of the greenhouse and other facilities can be found on the ‘JTV’s photos’ link at the right.  

Contact information:

          Selam Children’s Village

          PO Box 8075

          Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

          Tel: +251 1 46 29 56

          Fax: +251 1 46 29 45





          Selam Technical & Vocational Center

          PO Box 8075

          Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

          Tel: +251 1 46 29 42

          Fax: +251 1 46 34 79






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