A life-changing visit to Ethiopia

In 2018, Maria Clara Horsburgh was chosen as an Ambassador to visit Roche’s work in Ethiopia. Maria, who works as a Medical Affairs Catalyst and Disease Area Medical Director in Oncology for Pharma International, immediately accepted.

“I was thrilled but also felt a huge responsibility,” she says “Something inside of me knew that this trip would be life-changing. But nothing could prepare me for what I was going to experience.”

Poverty, famine, and conflicts have left 4.5 million children orphaned and destitute in Ethiopia. With funds raised from the Children’s Walk, Roche has supported Selam Children’s Village since 2016, funding five orphan homes in Addis Ababa City, Yeka Sub City, Kotebe, Woreda and Bole Sub City. In these houses, the children get holistic attention including food, clothing, medical care, education and other necessary care through social workers, educators, nurses and psychologists.

“I saw that our partnership made an enormous difference to these children,” says Maria. “Instead of trying to survive on the streets of the sprawling city of Addis Ababa, the orphans I met had a loving environment, where they learn, laugh and play, and can dream of the future they want to build.”

Throughout the partnership, Roche has supported 63 children in total providing them with holistic physical and psychological care. In addition, we have funded 84 young adults’ living expenses and formal education. From the funded group, 32 beneficiaries are still studying, 19 beneficiaries have successfully graduated, and 33 have graduated and are working.

For Maria, the impact of the visit has been profound.

“After a week in Ethiopia, we said our goodbyes, and each of us went back to our everyday lives with a lot in our hearts and in our heads,” she says. “Ambassadors have a moral obligation to share what we have seen, to inspire others to support the Children’s Walk. These donations can take a child from the streets and give them an education, a childhood, and a future.”

Maria is one of over 120 Roche Ambassadors who have had the opportunity to experience first-hand the impact from funds raised by the Children’s Walk.

More impact stories

See all stories

This website contains information on products which is targeted to a wide range of audiences and could contain product details or information otherwise not accessible or valid in your country. Please be aware that we do not take any responsibility for accessing such information which may not comply with any legal process, regulation, registration or usage in the country of your origin.

ContactLocationslinkedinfacebooktwitterinstagramyoutubeCovid-19Pharma solutionsRoche careersMedia libraryAnnual Report 2023Privacy policyLegal statement