What began as an outcast leper community eighty years ago has now grown into Korah, an urban slum with an estimated 130,000 people in the city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. To this day people infected with leprosy continue to flee to Korah for treatment and to escape from those who believe that they are cursed. After three generations, leprosy is not the only disease found in Korah. People suffer from malnutrition, TB, HIV, AIDS and many other preventable diseases. These people have become outcast and forgotten, rejected by outsiders who refuse to understand their condition.
Those living in Korah are extremely vulnerable. Poverty consumes the area, leaving many widowed and orphaned. Illness spreads quickly due to scarce and tainted food, filthy living conditions and a lack of clean water. This kind of destitution breaks families apart; separating them through desperation, illness, and death. Often leaving them with a feeling of hopelessness, fear and bondage to the poverty that entraps them. Most who survive do so through begging, prostitution and living off the city’s garbage dump, ‘a place many orphans call home.’ Men, women, and children spend their days searching and sifting through the trash, desperate to find food or discarded metal and plastic they can salvage and sell for pennies.
“Some see a hopeless end, while others see an endless hope.” author unknown
Despite the desperate conditions and circumstances, the community of Korah is filled with beautiful people who have persevered under great trials. They have demonstrated resilience and strength. They are people, who have hidden within themselves the potential to change their world… what they need is HOPE.
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