In compliance with the government of Ethiopia, Compassion Ethiopia’s church partners across the country have ceased program activities at their Compassion centres, while all national office staff are working from home.

Despite the closures, Compassion Ethiopia is still responding in this critical time, supporting new mothers, providing for families in need and proudly and prayerfully cheering on alumni of the Compassion program who are fighting COVID-19 as medical professionals.

New life in a pandemic

A few months ago, Aynalem and her husband, Tadesse, were excitedly anticipating the birth of their second child. But when Tadesse was suddenly laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their excitement quickly turned to anxiety.

Thankfully, Aynalem’s application to be part of the Compassion Survival program at a local church was approved at the same time the pandemic began. The timing was perfect—Aynalem was just days away from giving birth.

A mother cradling a baby.

Aynalem cradles her newborn son, Metages.

Despite being unemployed because of the pandemic, this young family has their critical needs met thanks to the Survival program. One of the Survival staff, Danse, says, “Witnessing their joy as they received the food support and additional baby items made me thank God with them in tears.”

Though Danse can’t visit Aynalem and the other mothers in the Survival program like she normally would, she calls frequently to check-in on their wellbeing, ensuring they know that even in quarantine, they are not alone.

Supporting families in need

At another Compassion centre, staff are ensuring that families in Compassion’s program have the supplies they need to stay healthy through this pandemic. “Telling them the importance of hand washing during this time is not enough if we don’t provide them with the necessary items,” says Tsege, the centre director.

A pair of hands holding soap and detergent.

While the centre staff look out for them, the families in Compassion’s program are looking out for their neighbours, too. “What we received will not only save my family, but I will share it with my neighbours. During this time, if my neighbour is not careful, then my effort won’t save me. We protect each other. A single bar of soap will go a long way in protecting us all from the virus,” says Tigist, a mother of a Compassion child.

Compassion alumna: Dr. Addisalem Gebresilassie

Finally, Compassion’s impact reaches even farther when we also consider the alumni of our programs. Many of them are medical professionals working on the frontlines to fight COVID-19.

Dr. Addisalem grew up in a small town that didn’t have a doctor. For her, dreaming of becoming a doctor seemed like pure fantasy. However, she was able to accomplish her goal with support from her sponsor, Compassion centre and parents.

A portrait of Dr. Addisalem wearing a mask.

Today, Dr. Addisalem is working on the frontlines of a healthcare system she worries won’t be able to handle the scale of this pandemic, especially if people don’t stay home. “I believe the best thing for the country to do right now is to stop the spread of the virus since we don’t have a health system that can overcome the pandemic,” she says. “We need people to stay home and help us prevent the spread.”

She says that virtues she learned from her sponsor and the Compassion centre, like kindness and a helping heart, come with her as she treats patients. She says she is praying for Compassion supporters around the world. “For my sponsor and for all the sponsors globally, I pray that the Lord will protect you. I am hopeful that this pandemic will subside soon, and things will go back to normal. We all need to be careful, but we also need to pray for mercy.”

Compassion Ethiopia’s National Director, Tsehaywota Tadesse, shares these words of encouragement with the global Compassion family:

A portrait of Compassion Ethiopia’s National Director, Tsehaywota Tadesse.

Compassion Ethiopia’s National Director, Tsehaywota Tadesse.

“In such a time, our eyes are only and always focused on the Almighty God who is never caught by surprise. While everything shakes, He is stable. He is able to rebuke the wind and to calm down the wave. May we see Jesus once again waking up to rebuke the wind and to quiet the waves. May we have faith, and have it increase, in this difficult time. We are not alone in this situation. We have Him in our boat. Because of who is in our boat, we will cross the turbulent sea and make it to the other side safe and stronger in faith. Amen!”

Here are some prayer requests from our Compassion Ethiopia team:

  • Pray for protection for the children from the virus.
  • Pray for healing for those testing positive for COVID-19.
  • Pray for protection for Ethiopia from social unrest due to the pandemic.
  • Pray for economic stability in the midst of the crisis.
  • Pray that God will use this situation to spread the gospel.
  • Pray for God’s guidance and wisdom for the National Office to best assist the church partner.


For our most up-to-date information on COVID-19, please visit our updates page.

You can help families affected by COVID-19 through our disaster relief fund.

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By Tigist Gizachew and Alyssa Esparaz