Ethiopians seek lost orphans
CHUNCHEON, Gangwon province ― Veterans of the Korean War from Ethiopia have expressed hopes of meeting the children that were raised in an orphanage they established and maintained during the war.
On a recent visit by a support group to participate in a commemoration day for Ethiopia’s Korean War veterans, the men, mostly in their 70s, said the children they supported were raised at the Bowha Orphanage in Dongducheon, Gyeonggi province.
Ethiopia sent 6,037 soldiers to aid South Korea during the war. Some 121 troops were killed, and 536 were wounded in action.
“We have been visiting Ethiopia in the past few years to provide aid to Korean War veterans and every time we went, they asked about the children from the orphanage,” said Shin Kwang-chul, general secretary at the Supporters Association for the Ethiopian Veterans of Korean War. “They want to meet the former orphans while they are still healthy enough to come to Korea,” he added.
After fighting in the war, the Ethiopians established the Bowha Orphanage in April 1953 and took care of children. The facility was operated from funds that Ethiopian soldiers gathered by donating part of their pay. The orphanage offered shelter 60 to 70 children. What happened to the children after Ethiopian troops went home in 1956 is unclear. There is little documentation.
At the invitation of the Korea Veterans Association, six Ethiopian veterans will visit Korea from June 23 to 28. The supporting association office is handling inquiries or information at 02-363-0028.
by Lee Chan-ho