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Find out more about our work

SELAM began life as a children's home set up to provide holistic well-being to children in need. The aim was to help them grow up to become independent, confident and responsible adults. In the more than 35 years of its existence, SELAM has pursued this aim and helped thousands of young people find their way into a hopeful future.


In recent years, the children's home has been extended to include schools, a vocational training centre, a clinic and a number of projects to assist the local community. SELAM now has sites in four Ethiopian cities and thereby contributes to six of the 17 sustainability objectives of the UN's global development programme.

Unsere Programme
Our programmes

Our four main programmes allow us to support disadvantaged people in Ethiopia, no matter what their age or circumstances.

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Over the years, SELAM has developed a support model based on the principle of an extended family. In our two children's villages in Addis Ababa, children under the age of 15 live in family homes under the supervision of a matron. Teenagers aged 15 to 18 live together in single-sex families. At the age of 18, the young people leave the SELAM children's villages and live in residential communities supervised by SELAM social workers.

SELAM operates a kindergarten, two primary schools (years 1 to 8) and one secondary school (years 9 to 12), which are attended by approx. 2,900 children in total. The school enjoys a good reputation, in terms of both the quality of the education provided and its strong ethical values, the equal gender balance, the mix of ethnicities and the mutual respect shown despite different mental and physical abilities.


SELAM offers vocational training courses lasting up to four years and inspired by the Swiss dual learning system (30% theory and 70% practice). At SELAM's own industrial, agricultural and hospitality operations, the trainees can learn practical skills in nine different professions. SELAM also works with external companies to provide internship opportunities. Trainees learn the theoretical and practical foundations at our vocational training centre.

From the very start, SELAM has also endeavoured to support the local community. Examples include our outpatient clinic, day-care centre and various other projects to support women. 

Unsere Projekte
Our projects

We currently have three community support projects ongoing at SELAM, which you can support directly. 

SELAM im Überblick
An overview of SELAM

SELAM operates five sites in four different cities within Ethiopia. The two biggest sites, SELAM I and II, are located in the capital city Addis Ababa. Since 2007, SELAM has been operating an additional site in Southern Ethiopia, in Hawassa; since 2019 we have also been setting up another site in the east at Dire Dawa. In 2021, the Wukro Children Project in Wukro, Northern Ethiopia, was integrated into SELAM Charity Switzerland.

Nachhaltige Entwicklung
Sustainable Development Goals

Since the Millennium Assembly in 2000, the international community has been working towards a coordinated approach to combatting global poverty. For a long time, the focus was unilaterally centred around the development of poor countries in the Global South. Since 2015, however, the UN's 17 sustainability goals have been in effect. As the name suggests, the aim is to facilitate sustainable development for all the people on our planet. Development is deemed sustainable when, in addition to material needs, it also endeavours to provide a more equitable distribution of resources, environmental protection and fair trading conditions. In these areas, action is required on the part of the industrialised nations in particular. For their part, developing countries face the challenge of tackling corruption, cronyism and ethnic tensions. (FDFA / 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development)

SELAM supports the ethos of holistic development. We endeavour to use resources responsibly, to provide fair employment conditions and treat people equally, regardless of their gender, ethnicity or religion. Our programmes promote the development of young people in particular across various levels, such as nutrition, health, education and mutual respect, something that is reflected in the following six goals:


Combatting poverty is one of SELAM's main objectives, whether through emergency aid, education, childcare provision or micro-financing.


Over 400 children a year benefit from our Lunch Project when they attend school. Our day-care centre helps to ensure that infants receive adequate care and that mothers can return to work. During times of crisis, we distribute food to those in need.


The SELAM clinic is available to children, school students, trainees and staff, but also the local population. Our Hygiene Project provides young women with hygiene products.


The good schooling and vocational training provided by SELAM opens opportunities to our young people to get good jobs or become successful entrepreneurs.


SELAM operates on the principle of equal opportunities for all. All our education programmes have always been open to all genders. Thus women are trained to become bus drivers, mechanical engineers or instructors, and men are able to work with children.


SELAM emphasises a good working environment for its more than 700 employees, pays fair wages and provides employee benefits. Many of the former SELAM children have gone on to start their own companies and thus contributed directly to the country's economic development.

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