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Awassa Children's Center
History and Background

The Awassa Children''s Project is an Illinois Not-For-Profit organization dedicated to providing financial and managerial support to the Awassa Children''s Center and the Awassa Youth Campus. Below is a brief history of the two initiatives of the Awassa Children’s Project:

Awassa Children’s Center

2001 - 2003

The Awassa Children''s Project, Inc., incorporated in Illinois and the Awassa Children’s Center is formerly established as an NGO in Ethiopia. The Children’s Center officially begins admitting orphans primarily orphaned by AIDS, providing housing, health care, education and making sure the children all had adequate clothing and food. The town of Awassa gave the project land on which to build a career education center.

2004 - Present

Facilities were built on the granted land and the Career Education Center were developed. A new computer lab installed at the Children''s Center was finished and gardens and trees were planted. The local government gave the project more land to start its own agriculture and environmental efforts while the Children’s Center steadily increases the number of children to 60 orphans under it’s care, and growing!

Awassa Youth Campus

1996 – 2000

A band of street children, boys and girls, meeting on a levee by the lake, began to teach themselves gymnastics. They called themselves "The Debub Nigat (Southern Dawn) Circus", though this was eventually changed to “One Love AIDS Education Theatre”. In 2000, facilities for One Love AIDS Education Theatre rehearsals were set aside at the Children’s Center and AIDS education developed. Local HIV/AIDS agencies pledged to provide materials for the show and training. Performers from the One Love AIDS Education Theatre come in second in the all-Ethiopia gymnastics competition.

2001 – Present

In 2005, aside from performing for t over 15,000 people throughout Ethiopia One Love toured Sherkole Refugee Camp, located in Asosa, Ethiopia. In 4 performances One Love reached over 8,000 Southern Sudanese refugees. Later that year, a One Love team returned to Sherkole to facilitate a 6-week workshop that assisted camp youth in developing a theatrical show of their own designed to deliver awareness information about landmines and un-exploded ordinances in their homeland.

In 2006, One Love moved into their new home at the Awassa Youth Campus (AYC) (link) and conducted over 35 performances throughout Ethiopia performing for over 20,000 people! Aside from performing at their normal venues, One Love also held their first performance in the Ethiopian National Theater for over 1,500 people. In August 2006, One Love embarked on their most ambitious tour yet, the “North Tour”. Over the course of 2 weeks One Love visited 12 cities traveling over 5000 kilometers and performing for more than 6,000 people! The “North Tour” began on the road north to the ancient city of Gonder and then crisscrossed the country to the spellbinding city of Harrar in the East, with a stop in Addis Ababa along the way.

The 2007, One Love season kicked off on February 2nd with One Love’s first performance designed specifically for the theater, a community theater extravaganza entitled “Our World” (See poster). Internationally acclaimed director Amani Naptali assisted One Love in writing, producing and directing the production. Publicized only by word of mouth “Our World” was performed to a standing room only crowd of over 2,000 people! During the remainder of 2007 One SLove will conduct over 35 performances, hoping to reach over 30,000 people! Also in 2007,One Love will also embark on two extended tours similar to 2006’s “North Tour”, including a journey to the ancient Omo Valley. Current One Love updates and events as well as pictures of recent shows will be posted on this site during the course of the 2007 season, be on the look out!


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