WordUp Addis was set up four years ago by Cathy Burton. This group works with the street kids in the Piazza part (the red light district) of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They teach the kids English, give them a meal a day and, this year, are making two films – one with the boys (who call themselves the Tiger Kids), which will be a fictional film (whatever they create), and the other will be about the work of WordUp Addis and the lives of the boys. (The group is primarily boys, although there is one girl, with a baby, who sometimes attends.)
These kids are living on the streets for various reasons – most of them have come to Addis Ababa from the rural areas. Sometimes their parents have died from malaria or AIDS, sometimes the family is too poor to support them, sometimes the mother has remarried and the children from the first marriage are thrown out.
The Tiger Kids are very keen to learn, and also need food and warm clothing. WordUp Addis goes to Addis Ababa every year, around Christmas, for a few months, to do their teaching etc. Now – thanks to Natural East – they are also buying products made by local Ethiopian people, to sell at Natural East, and raise funds for the Tiger Kids.