Helmut Kutin Award winners 2015

Abebech Kibret from Ethiopia

photo: © SOS Archive
“Yes, yes, yes! Aunt Abebech is coming to us!” is the excited cry often heard when children hear Abebech will be standing in for their SOS mothers on their days off or when they take annual leave.The reasons are numerous why Abebech, or Abi as she is affectionately called, is the children’s favourite aunt. She makes time to play with them, listen to them and understands their problems. “Abebech’s ceaselessly sweet gestures make the children and youth feel cared for and protected,” is how the mutual love and respect between her and the young people is described. She doesn’t discriminate between her SOS Children’s Village family and her biological family. This is evident from the regular phone calls and visits from former SOS Children’s Village young people to whom she is still a mother figure.

She teaches young mothers how to take care of their babies and gives example in playing the mother role according to Ethiopian culture. Because the children and young people share their problems with Abebech, she is their voice in difficult situations. The story of Saba illustrates this.

Saba fell in love and decided to get married at a very young age. She dropped out of school andmisbehaved to such an extent that the SOS Children’s Village management considered disciplinary action. Abebech stepped in and convinced Saba to continue her education and insisted that she be given a second chance. Saba completed grade 12 and continued to qualify as a kindergarten teacher. She now teaches at a private school.

Read more about the other winners of the Helmut Kutin Award 2015: