Enderby-based Horn of Africa provides critical services for children in Ethiopia.

Enderby-based Horn of Africa provides critical services for children in Ethiopia.

Gaming helps Ethiopian kids

Coins for Change program through Club Penguin allows youth to support Ethopian kids through Enderby's Partners in Africa

Young fans of Club Penguin can support African children through an Enderby charity until Tuesday.

As part of the Coins for Change program, children donate virtual coins they earn playing games on Club Penguin to real-world causes that matter to them.

“Their donations serve as votes to help determine how much of a cash donation from Disney Online Studios will go to support projects around the world run by organizations such as Partners in the Horn of Africa,” said John Baigent, executive director with Partners in Africa in Enderby.

The town of Adet, in northwestern Ethiopia, is poor, and many children have lost their parents to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Many children and youth quit school and try to make a living in the streets of the town where they are exposed to rape, forced labour and prostitution, making them vulnerable to contract HIV/AIDS.

“With the support of Partners and the Coins for Change program, these children are now finding a safe haven in a group home for ex-street children/youth,” said Baigent.

Another project being supported involves the building of 50 libraries attached to elementary schools over a five-year period.

“Thanks to Coins For Change, 16 libraries have already been constructed and fully equipped, and at least 10 more will follow in 2012,” said Baigent.

“Due to a lack of public funding, libraries in Ethiopian elementary schools are unheard of, and Partners can barely keep up with the demand from schools and district education offices. Access to reading materials and quiet learning spaces opens up a whole new world for young students and paves their way into a brighter future.”

Results from Coins for Change will be announced Jan. 1.

To find out more about how kids can get involved, go to http://partnersinthehorn.blogspot.com/2011/12/disney-onlineclub-penguin-and-partners.html