Leinster’s Ian Madigan and Leo Cullen made some new supporters this week during a visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to learn about some of the programmes that GOAL runs for young people in the city…

The duo met hundreds of boys and girls at a GOAL-run drop-in and rehabilitation centre that provides education, medical treatment, sport and recreation, clothes-washing facilities and other services to children who live and work on the streets of the capital.

They also played with the children, listened to their stories and heard how other services that GOAL provides, such as family tracing and vocational training, is helping them to find their feet and escape from a life on the streets.

GOAL provides support to almost 3,500 vulnerable children in Addis each year.

“The work GOAL is doing here with the children in Addis Ababa is fantastic,” said Leo Cullen. “Because they live on the streets, the kids face many challenges, particularly the young girls who have children, so it is great that they can come into the drop-in centre, talk about their experiences and avail of some of the many services that GOAL provides.

Ian Madigan said: “The children at the drop-in centre are so positive and resolute, despite the dangers they face, and that is down to the great work that GOAL does. There are about 60,000 street children in Addis Ababa, but there is no doubt that GOAL is making a difference.”

The provincial teammates are due to visit a refugee camp in south-western Ethiopia today (Wednesday), where GOAL provides nutritional support and other essential services to thousands of people who were forced to leave their homes in Somalia because of famine, drought and conflict.

Both Cullen’s and Madigan’s visit to Ethiopia with GOAL is being sponsored by Bank of Ireland.

For more information on the trip, and GOAL’s work in Ethiopia, please visit www.goal.ie