Profile of a nanny at Ajuuja orphanage in Hawassa, Ethiopia – Capturing Grace in Ethiopia for Hawassa Hope

Azimera is 21 years of age and has worked at the Ajuuja orphanage for 6 years as a nanny. She is a big part of the heart and success of the Ajuuja/Hwassa Hope partnership, providing care to 5-7 children, working 24 hours shifts: one day on, one day off. 

Azimera lost her father when she was young. She was raised by her mother and has nine siblings. She now lives in a simple hut with two friends, where they share one thin mattress on the floor. With the wages she earns at Ajuuja, Azimera sends money to her home and uses the rest for her education. She has completed one year of college and has two years left. 

Ajuuja In Azimera’s words:

“I provide care to children whom I love very much as they have no families. I love them like a mother since they have none. Giving this kind of care makes me feel like their mother. I run from one baby to the next as they need attention. I am very thankful to work for Ajuuja and I feel so happy to be a part of saving lives. My dream is to one day adopt a baby from Ajuuja if God gives me a husband, health and resources to do this. I promise in front of you, my heart is to adopt one of my babies. If these babies were not at Ajuuja they would be at risk of so many dangers, maybe even eaten by the beasts (hyenas and dogs that are common in the countryside).” 

As Greg Knight and myself interviewed Azimera, Greg broke into tears as he recounted the loving care he witnessed as Azimera cared for a very sick baby named Biruk when he was admitted to the hospital –

“ After Baby Biruk was admitted to the hospital,  Azimera would do 12 hour night shifts where the nurses said Azimera was ministering not just to Biruk but also to the other four children and their families who shared the same room at the hospital. The nurses told us when we visited that ‘this one is special’ referring to Azimera. What touched me deeply was that she had shifted her schedule to overnight every night (12 + hour shifts) while Biruk was in the hospital. Instead of going home after staying up all night at the hospital she came to Ajuuja first and spoke to each baby, holding them and playing with them with a love that only comes from mothers. She was off duty but said she couldn’t just go home without seeing her babies.”

During my time with Azimera I witnessed this intangible that is so hard to describe. One hopes that the photographs communicate what the written word does not but I can never be sure. All I can say is that I was in awe at the way Azimera carried herself and the compassion that comes from deep within her soul. The way that she loves on these babies is truly remarkable considering the longs hours that she works and primitive conditions within which she lives. Spending time with Azimera leaves no doubt that God’s hand is on her and this ministry. I feel very grateful to be a part of what God is doing here.

I invite you to learn more about Hawassa Hope at

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