Moïra’s Garden Project RECAP

The garden project initiated and lead by Moïra, one of the current Swiss trainees at STB in Ethiopia, successfully came to an end. Currently, children and staff are collecting the vegetables in order to prepare them for a celebration to be held on coming Friday.

Find below a movie summarizing the work process which lasted several months and giving insights to the convincing results of this exciting project.


2014 – STB Ethiopia in retrospect

Written by: Lastawsh Takele (psychologist), Behailu Jemal (sport teacher), Lilyana Ahmed (program manager)

10th anniversary opening ceremony (June2, 2014)

10th anniversary opening ceremony (June 2, 2014)

Time is running fast! It is December now and somehow hard to realize that again 12 months have passed by with experiencing a lot of hardship of street children on a daily basis. Just as in previous times, also this year many activities have been accomplished within STB Ethiopia. However, what makes this year special is the 10th anniversary of the program. Thanks to the founders and other significant figures, the association has reached a lot of success in the process of rehabilitating street children and their respective families.

Since the beginning in 2004 until today, STB Ethiopia has been able to reach about 1’000 street children. Considering the difficult nature of the work and the limited capacity of the organization, this number implies a remarkable achievement. Throughout this year’s October, 108 children were recruited, out of which we work with 40 children and their families closely today. More than 90% out of these children originally come from countryside regions and the smaller amount (less than 10%) come from Addis Ababa.

Opening ceremony 10th anniversary  (June 2,2014), from left: Lilyana Ahmed (Family Department), Yonas Mindaye (Sport Department), Elsabeth Sisay (Nutrition Department) and  Sr. Aelefech Nigussie

Opening ceremony 10th anniversary (June 2, 2014), from left: Lilyana Ahmed (Family Department), Yonas Mindaye (Sport Department), Elsabeth Sisay (Nutrition Department) and Sr. Aelefech Nigussie (Nurse)

In June the 10th anniversary celebration of the program was launched and since then STB was engaging in different activities to celebrate the achievements of the past decade, for which all staff members have been generating ideas. To put these ideas into practice, 4 working groups have been established to prepare and start the implementation of concrete actions and events around the 10th anniversary:

  • In total 200 people celebrated the occasion of the annual school closing in August, among them older STB children, school children (follow-up program participants) and all staff.
  • In October the staff did their annual retreat in remembering the jubilee.
  • Recently, on 1st of November, an event was carried out for the neighboring community:  Neighbors were invited for a drama play and a show of the STB girls who practice karate. The event also comprised a photo and drawing exhibition and older successful beneficiaries were interviewed. Furthermore leaflets about STB were distributed to the guests, who were also given the opportunity to write suggestions. “I did not know well how you support the children in the center, today I have realized that you offer an integrated and wholesome service, I am very impressed about your work” one interviewed guest said.
  • Last but not the least an activity, which will be realized soon in relation with the anniversary, is an educational tour with the school follow-up children. In this context the youths have the possibility to visit museums, monuments and get insights into specific working fields. All these activities will be guided and monitored by the STB staff.

Ahead of us, we remain with two main activities related to the 10th anniversary of STB. One is a panel discussion on 29th of January 2015 on sport as a means of social development. Social workers, sport teachers and sociology students from Addis Ababa University and other NGOs who work with children will attend the panel discussion. The speakers will be experts from STB and other NGOs who are doing social work through sport. The last event related to the jubilee will be on 31st of January, when the final closing ceremony of the 10th anniversary will be held. On this day, there will be different activities and speeches by invited guests and representatives of STB Ethiopia and Switzerland. In addition to that, STB kids will perform another drama play and recognition certificates will be presented to the partners. For this last ceremonial event we are currently inviting representative partner organizations from government offices, NGOs and schools, former STB staff members, STB children and their families.

STB also wants to use the celebration to recapitulate 10 years of experience that have shown, that sport can be a valuable tool to understand street children, provide them with necessary support and teach social skills. In the face of those achievements we would like to thank our current supporters and invite future supporters to become a part of our efforts.

Arriving in Addis Abeba and Sport – The Bridge

My name is Manuela, I am 34 years old and I am a trainee from the Lindenhof hospital located in Bern. Around ten days ago I arrived in Addis Ababa and already experienced so many things that I can’t tell everything here.

When I arrived I was overwhelmed by the way people live in the city of Addis Ababa. You can see kids and elderly people sleeping on the streets or begging for some money. The streets around our guesthouse are not plastered so there is a lot of dust or mud when it is raining on the way from the house to the compound. The houses in our neighborhood are mostly constructed out of corrugated iron or plastic sheets. The people are friendly and open and they call us “ferenschii” all the time. That means foreigner. For me all these impressions in the city are so different from the living in Switzerland that I am in a sort of a cultural shock at the moment! But all that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel comfortable at all. The people on the street and especially the staff from Sport The Bridge made me feel welcome in this town where the trucks drive next to a donkey both loaded with a lot of stuff.


As I said people on the streets treat us foreigners with a lot of respect even when you don’t understand a word of Amharic. As I was able to see, their dealings among themselves is characterized by a lot of respect while they greet each other. All that made it easy for me to accomodate.

In the first week I was able to join the staff retreat from Sport – The Bridge. It was an amazing experience to spend the day with all the friendly people and was a great opportunity for me to get to know each one of them better. First we drove through Addis Ababa but after a short time and a police control we headed to a place called Portuguese bridge. We drove through little villages covered with bushes. The houses were mostly built round out of mud. For me it was the first time out of Addis so I enjoyed the view of the countryside very much. The place itself is worth a visit as well. There is a waterfall heading to a valley which is amazing! I never saw a place like that before. Suddenly a horde of monkeys came down the hill really fast and scared quite a bit! ;-) After that interruption we had lunch and a coffee ceremony which was also disturbed by a few buzzards. They were attacking the people who were eating from the air and a few of us were looking for shelter in a hut. Then the actual retreat began. There were a lot of discussions going on….even political issues were talked through. After that they installed big speakers and the fun part began with some local beer and a lot of dancing. They taught us “ferenshiis” how to dance to abeshan music and wanted us to teach them Macarena!! It was good fun. When the sun went down we got into the buses again and drove back to Addis with a lot of singing and dancing in the bus. To be honest in my imagination I had several car accidents on that ride, because the traffic here has very different rules than in Switzerland.;) Luckily we arrived home safe and tired.


After the staff retreat I learned how to value “normal things” like electricity, flowing water and to have a washing machine. We were out of water for 5 days. Luckily my roommates were properly prepared for an incident like that. Thank you Moïra and Beni.

After all I realized that living simple like here in the guesthouse in Addis Ababa is possible and not that bad at all, because you get to appreciate the small things in life much more.


Aim of Counseling in STB Ethiopia

Report from Lastawusih Takele (counseling psychologist), September 2014


My name is Lastawusih Takele. I am a psychologist in Sport – The Bridge Ethiopia under the health department. I have been working in the program for more than 5 years. Until now I was an active visitor to this blog but now I am coming to be a participant. The following writing is my fist participation to the blog; I hope the reader may find it informative; I wish a very nice stay!

It was January 01, 2013 at 02:00 pm. My office knocked by somebody else while I was working on my computer. Consequently, I rose up my neck and watched out to the door; a boy whom I guessed 12 years old stood out. I drop my work and allowed him to get in, seat and ask me any service he may wants…. He got in to and say hello with the culturally respectful manner for elders …. He stared on the ground and stayed silent for a while and started to talk to me. “….am hear coming to tell you something and get help. (… little pause…) I tried by myself many, many times but I couldn`t. “He Said with the feeling of frustration. He continued his talk, “one of the teacher and my friends were recommended me to visit you when I shared my feeling to them”. ….. Then I said”… you mean you want psychological support?”
With little confusion, he replied to me that “Yes! I want to quit using drug and be strong as I was before and I want to control my feeling of aggression”. He felt eager to do what he really wants within one night. He did really expect something miracle from one coarse of contact with the counselor. Nonetheless, after I provided him certain information about what counseling and the counseling process is, his thought of expecting something miracle from the process has gone away and finally he successfully achieved his goal from the counseling.
Currently the child is 15 years old. He is living with his mother, step-father and his two sisters in the country side which is around six hundred kilo Meters from Addis Ababa. From his time of integration, we sometimes contacted with telephone. Till now what really I couldn`t forget he told me through telephone is that “…..teacher before, when I think about gifts, only Money was immediately coming to my mind. But my stay in STB, gave me a lot of insight about the choice of gifts to please others. I understand the power of love and respect as it is equivalent to something to eat and drink. From you and from others what I recognized is this……..thank you teacher! I feel always surprised on my current life. I didn`t think even for a second that I may again join and live with my family”. (Whisper…)

Most of the times, in our country people are finding ways of dealing with such problem in living by talking with family, friends, neighbors, priests or non-counseling professionals. Though their advices are insufficient, street children are even more restricted to their friends in dealing their living problems. However, some of the problems may not be expressed as well because they may let them embarrassed or shamed if they are tolled for others. Hence, counseling is a really useful option at this moment. Therefore STB has been providing this opportunity to the children with a professional counselor. Counseling can provide a lot of opportunities for the kids and their parents.

Though the goal of counseling varies from one psychological approach to others, most counselors agreed on some areas, as a general goal to be achieved in counseling arena. However, even from these goals, STB is also selective enough based on the rationale of its general philosophy and need of its beneficiaries; let us see them:

The aim of counseling

  • Insight: This tells us in the counseling process, the child/children acquired an understanding of the origins and development of emotional difficulties, leading to an increased capacity to take rational control over feelings and actions. The above child got insight to his drug and aggressive feeling and behavior and got control over them.
  • Relating with others: Through counseling the child or children is/are better able to form and maintain meaningful and satisfying relationships with other people: for example with their family. Bear in mind what Tadios (in the above case; his real name is changed) said “….I feel always surprised on my current life. I didn`t think even for a second that I may again join and live with my family”.
  • Self awareness: At the beginning, Tadios was not aware of his blocked or denied thoughts and feeling. But fortunately, through the counseling process, he could able to realized them and even he also developed a more accurate sense of how self is perceived by others (counselor, other staff and his friends and family)
  • Self – acceptance: Most of children are highly vulnerable to self rejection and criticism.Hence, the counseling service is providing opportunities for the child/children to develop positive attitude towards self, marked by an ability to acknowledge areas of experience that had been the subject of self criticism and rejection.
  • Self-actualization or individuation: Tadios was flouting with the conflicting parts of self. On one side he finds himself as a person who wants to follow his religious and traditional norms but he was actually acting in the contrary. On the other hand, though he knew he has a lot of potentials and interests in his academic career, he found himself where he couldn`t meet his potentials and interest. He denied his identity including his name and religion and traditional norms. Though he is actually a Muslim follower, he communicates others as he is Christian and gave Christian name for himself. Hence, the counseling aimed at moving the child to the direction of fulfilling potentials or achieving an integration of previously conflicting parts of self.
  • Problem solving: Finding solution to specific problem that the child/or children had not been able to resolve alone. Or it means acquiring a general competence in problem solving. Tadios got assistant of competency to move to the direction of controlling his drug and aggressive problems.
  • Acquisition of social skills: Learning and mastering social and interpersonal skills such as maintaining ”eye contact”, turn-taking in conversations and assertiveness or anger control. This aim of counseling was successfully achieved with the counseling relationship with Tadios.
  • Cognitive and behavior change: The modification or replacement of irrational or maladaptive thoughts patterns and behaviors. Tadios was thinking that he is useless and nobody likes him; as a result he used different drugs and aggressively reacts to others as coping mechanisms. Hence, in the counseling process this thought and behaviors were replaced by other constructive ones.
  • Empowerment: working on skills awareness and knowledge that will enable the children and their parents to take control their life.
  • Psycho education: Counseling enables the client to acquire ideas and techniques with which to understand and control behavior.

So, whenever one or the other aims of counseling achieved after my counseling relationship, I always feel happy and confident, however, honestly speaking to reach on this/these goal/s is not an easy task because of different factors. May be in my future writings I will point outs these factors. See you until then.

Lastawusih Takele (counseling psychologist)

Heaven in Trouble

Beni Etter (a current intern of STB in Ethiopia) created a short movie at the end of his “Hackysacky”-project. “Hackysacky” are hand-made crotched balls which the kids filled with small stones and popcorn and are being played by juggling with the feet. Beni taught the children how to make and how to play “Hackysacky”. Watch the short movie showing an imaginary “battle between angels and demons” – a play created by Beni, in collaboration with the STB kids and co-workers.

Big Trouble in Heaven



STB-Stamm Mittwoch 1. Oktober

Liebe STB-Mitglieder
Liebe Spenderinnen und Spender
Liebe Freunde, Bekannte und Interessierte

Der nächste STB-Stamm findet am Mittwoch, 1. Oktober, statt. Alle sind herzlich eingeladen. Wir treffen uns ab 19 Uhr im Lehrerzimmer.

Vom Vorstand wird Thierry Graf anwesend sein. Er freut sich über angemeldete oder spontane Gesellschaft ( / 078 637 19 33).

3-monatiges Praktikum bei “Ethiopia – Sport builds Bridges” in Addis Abeba

Sport – the Bridge vergibt zwei 3-monatige Praktikumsplätze von Februar bis April 2015. Wenn du dich für das Praktikum interessierst, besuche unsere Homepage, wo du detaillierte Angaben zum Verein und Programm in Addis Abeba findest.



Als PraktikantIn arbeitest du fünf Tage in der Woche im Programm mit und erhältst so einen Einblick in die Arbeit mit Strassenkindern und lernst nebenbei hautnah Menschen und Kultur kennen. Du unterstützt die Mitarbeitenden vor Ort, und wirst nach Absprache mit dem lokalen Management ein eigenes kleines Projekt planen, durchführen und evaluieren. Dabei stehen dir die Bereiche Sportpädagogik, Gesundheitsschulung, Kunst und Malen, Alphabetisierung und Schulunterrichtsvorbereitung aber auch Aufgaben im Management und der Organisationsentwicklung zur Verfügung.


Vorgängige Auslanderfahrung, Englischkenntnisse (schriftlich/mündlich), Mindestalter 24 Jahre, Selbstständigkeit, Eigenverantwortung, Initiative, Kreativität, Interesse im interkulturellen Bereich tätig zu sein, Offenheit, Flexibilität, Bereitschaft sich einen kleinen Wortschatz in Amharisch anzueignen, Interesse sich auch vor und nach dem Praktikum für unseren Verein einzusetzen.

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Die Möglichkeit sehr praxisnah Erfahrung im Bereich der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit zu sammeln, vorgängige Begleitung und Information bei der Vorbereitung für das Praktikum in der Schweiz, Betreuung durch äthiopische Leitung vor Ort, Kost und Logis.


Bitte schicke deinen CV und Motivationsschreiben in englischer Sprache bis zum 6. Oktober 2014 an Marina Marthaler und Myriam Egger.

How a school-year is finished in Ethiopia and how plants survive the rainy season

Already two months passed since our last blog-entry. In this time, a lot of things happend. New children came to Sport – The Bridge (STB), a lot of activities were organised, the rainy season is about to finish and we’re still happy to be here. We would like to tell you about two topics.

School closing ceremony

This is an event who is organised every year. This time, it was a bit special because of the ten years anniversary of STB. The aim of the ceremony was to appreciate that all the former and present STB-students succesfully finished their school-year.
Around 200 children and some of their parents were attending the great ceremony held in an event-hall next to Jan Meda in the morning of August 26.


The event was a good mix of interesting speeches, karate- and dancing-shows, award-giving for excellent efforts, short movies, interviews, an art-exhibition and – last but not least – a delicious meal to end the ceremony.


It was interesting for us to see how such kind of ceremonies are held in Ethiopia. We were impressed how entertaining and informative the ceremony was, even though the preparation-time was quite short.


The organisation of this event kept everybody busy. Uncluding us. Moira held several dance-lessons with the aim to perform the developed dance at the school closing ceremony. It became a funny mix of ethiopian and european dance. The involved children were very motivated and happy to dance in front of so many people.
Beni prepared a short movie about the ten years anniversary. He used old movies from the STB-archive and put arranged them to a short film.
After the four hours of celebration everyone left the event-hall very happy.

STB-Garden at the peer-house

In the garden happend a lot as well. After the rain and hail destroyed a lot of vegetable. We held an emergency-meeting and decided to construct small roofs above the patches and were forced to replant some vegetable.


Now the plants have recovered and are growing fast. The children take their responsibility to clean the garden regularly.


This month, we started with the gardening on the STB-compound as well. The compound already looks greener than before.

In october, when the vegetable is ready to harvest, we want to do a garden ceremony at the peer house garden. We’re going to invite all of the STB-staff. The event is going to be planed and realised with all the “garden kids”. We will let you know about this and other events and projects in the future…


Cooltour 2014 – “Besser als Ferien”

Ein Sommerlager für alle, für Kinder und Jugendliche mit und ohne Behinderung, altersübergreifend, basierend auf modernen Freizeitaktivitäten, wo über den Spass und das gemeinsame Erleben Brücken zwischen Menschen entstehen – das ist Cooltour, das schweizweit einzigartige Ferienlager, welches vom 25. Juli bis 1. August 2014 auf dem Camping Eichholz in Bern mit 70 Teilnehmenden aus der ganzen Schweiz stattfand.

Dem eingespielten OK und den rund zwanzig motivierten Volunteers gelang es wiederum, eine kinder- und jugendgerechte Umgebung für die persönliche Entfaltung und gegenseitige Integration zu schaffen und bestätigte dadurch die äusserst positiven Erfahrungen der Vorjahre. Cooltour wurde von Blindspot initiiert, wird gemeinsam mit Plusport und dem Schweizerischen Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverband organisiert und durch zahlreiche Stiftungen gefördert. STB unterstützt durch persönliche Mitarbeit und ist in der Lagerwoche im OK vertreten.

Mehr Infos unter:

Bericht von Thierry Graf, Präsident Sport – The Bridge

Newsletter Sport – The Bridge, August 2014 (Download Newsletter: NL_August_14)

Cooltour 2014

Cooltour 2014

Tanz-Workshop, Cooltour 2014

Tanz-Workshop, Cooltour 2014

STB Ethiopia’s 10th Anniversary – How Everything Started

The time since the start of Sport – The Bridge’s (STB) program in Ethiopia passed so fast that no one from the staff realizes that it is 10 years ago when we started to support street children. From December 2004 till today a countless amount of things happened and plenty of experiences have been made within STB.

Acknowledgement to the Founders

We are still very respectful towards the two Swiss teams of STB who built up the program. Starting with 20 street children on December 20 2014, Stephan and Simona Zihler, Kathrin Wespi and Ivan König in the first year and Caroline Gehring, Paolo Altundag and Stephan Brun in the second year set up the grounds with a lot of passion, trust and positive energy. Sometimes, when the staff sits together, we talk and remember the Swiss teams and we tell each other anecdotes about this memorable time. Looking back, it was wonderful to see how the crew faced challenges and no matter in which direction a situation had gone, they always found a way to manage it. Until today this is still a big inspiration for our daily work.

First Group of Children

When we look back, we have never met such a difficult and wonderful group of children in the past 10 years like the one in the first year of STB. They were the first group of children integrated through STB’s approach and will thus always remain special. With them we started to polish and to develop our methods and today it is touching to see how these kids have grown up and conquer everyday’s challenges.

Taking Responsibility

In 2005 the structuring of the departments was concluded and in 2006 the time came to create a new structure of leadership by transferring the responsibility to the Ethiopian staff. Since then, we faced several challenges, old and new ones, and there will be more to come. Of course, these were joined by a lot of happy days during the past years. Every time when we integrate a child with his family or when we receive a visit from former program children telling us that they are doing fine it gives us the approval about the impact of our efforts. But also administrational successes are satisfying, such as the renewal of the project’s license, which can be a hard process.

A New Approach

Many staff members remember how they were confused, when they heard for the first time that children do not spend their night on the STB compound or in a specific home meant for them. Experience has given us confidence that our methodology works. By not giving shelter to the street children, but rehabilitating them from where they are and supporting them on their way back to their family and the school, we focus on the children willing to change their situation. Working for STB still is a unique opportunity for all staff members and all emphasize that they have learnt a lot through it. At the beginning, new staff members often have some restraints to work with street children, but when they find their own way to explain to the children that they won’t get materialistic support but sympathy and empowerment, they’re all convinced by the exemplary character of STB Ethiopia.

How the founding team transmitted their ideas and handed over their project to local people within such a short time period deserves a lot of respect. A big THANK YOU to Stephan Zihler and all your brave fellows to have given us your ideas and your trust to run the project you started. Everybody who is involved in STB is gaining a lot out of this chance.

Staff Members STB Ethiopia

Newsletter Sport – The Bridge, August 2014 (Download Newsletter: NL_August_14)


Some impressions of the last 10 years