Maza Haile Selassie and her husband Abebe Zida took in their foster daughter after the girl’s mother gave birth at a hospital and fled.
It is a daily occurrence in Jimma, Ethiopia’s largest southwestern city. Unmarried mothers, many of them teenagers, abandon their babies at a rate of two to three a day in Jimma, government statistics show.
But a foster care programme supported by SOS Children’s Villages Ethiopia has so far placed more than a hundred children across Ethiopia with parents like Maza and Abebe.
“I love children,” says Maza, 51, whose adult biological daughter has special needs. “We wanted another child, especially so our daughter would have a sister or brother.”