Ethiopian philanthropist Abebech Gobena, the founder and manager of one of Ethiopia’s oldest orphanages AGOHELMA, who passed away last Sunday in Addis Ababa, has been finally laid to rest at Holy Trinity Church on Wednesday.
Friends and families of Abebech Gobena including top government officials expressed their deep condolences over the passing away of the renowned Ethiopian humanitarian Gobena.
Deputy Mayor of Addis Ababa City Administration Adanech Abebie said “Abebech Gobena has helped thousands of orphaned children and people in need.”
Many who had lost hope were given succour by her, as she spent most of her life devoted to humanity – helping the needy, and supporting the disadvantaged people. Little wonder she was often called ‘African Mother Theresa’, Adanech said.
While expressing his condolence, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that the patron Abebech Gobena had been Ethiopia’s icon of compassion. The Prime Minister further expressed heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and the many whose lives have been greatly impacted by her.
Gobena has no children of her own but she has a family of about 450,000 people. Like Mother Teresa, she is imaginative at raising money for the needy.
A month after Gobena was born in Shebel, her father was killed by Italians invading Ethiopia. She was brought up by grandparents and married at ten but ran away to Addis Ababa where she eventually remarried and became a quality controller at a coffee and grain company.
In 1973 she went on a pilgrimage to the church of Gishen Mariam in Wollo province, north of the capital. She distributed all she had to the victims of civil war and famine. She took in a child found suckling from its dead mother. She took another orphan home to Addis Ababa. By the end of the year, she had 21 orphans to care for.
Ethiopia’s renowned humanitarian and the founder and manager of Abebech Gobena Children’s Care and Development Association (AGOHELMA), had helped thousands of orphaned children and people in need. Gobena died on Sunday after contracting COVID-19. Abebech received an honorary doctorate degree from Jimma University for her outstanding humanitarian engagement in the last forty years.