The Head and the Heart
The Legatum team recently visited a project from our portfolio of work in Ethiopia. Sitting huddled on low stools in a small dimly lit home on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, we listened to the story of Atsede Seyoum, a young girl of 16, who, between gentle sobs, explained how she had been orphaned with her brother and sister when she was only 13 years old. Her parents had died of AIDS and, destitute, without clothes or shoes to cover their feet, the children had to earn a living any which way they could.
Atsede, along with her family, had been rescued by Save Lives Ethiopia, part of the Legatum Foundation's Ethiopia HIV/AIDS strategic initiative. Atsede and her siblings now have a home and are in school studying for higher education. On the sideboard in the house was a plaque, inscribed in Amharic, which when translated read, "though your beginnings may be humble, your ending shall be strong", which seemed appropriate given the trajectory this young family was on.
This was the Foundation’s work come to life. And yet this family were just three in an Ethiopian programme that has reached almost 30,000 families over a three year period. Our experiences highlighted the immense challenges faced in development but also the hope that through supporting the intrepid and inspirational organisations that serve the poor around the world, together we can make a difference.
Alan McCormick is a Partner at Legatum Limited