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An Ethiopian born model becomes “Miss Belgium 2021”

An Ethiopian born model becomes “Miss Belgium 2021”

Kedist Deltour, an orphan who was adopted from an Ethiopian orphanage at the age of ten by a Belgian family is also to represent the European nation to the Miss Universe competition.

‘A Belgian from Ethiopian descent, her victory is a beautiful example of the cultural diversity of the Belgian society”, Francois Dumont, the Belgian Ambassador to Ethiopia said in a statement.

Born in Addis Ababa, trained as a hairdresser, the model lost her mother to cancer at the age of 8 before she was abandoned by her father at an orphanage, according to her official profile. Her adoption occurred in the midst of a sharp rise of children adopted from Ethiopia, only lapsed by Chinese adoption and before the Ethiopian government paused international adoption as it came under pressure from children’s rights activists accused of not having a system to protect them once they leave the country. 

In particular, the story of Hana Grace-Rose Williams, who died from hypothermia became a rallying cry for Ethiopia to look inward for the growing need of adoption. The then 13 year old was starved to death by her adoptive parents, the stay at home mother was convicted of homicide and received a sentence of 37 years, while the father, a former Boeing employee was convicted of first -degree manslaughter and received 28 years.  

Ethiopian banned international adoption in 2018 and the Government of Abiy Ahmed has since promoted local adoption as an alternative. The premier adopted his own at the beginning of his term as an exemplary gesture for others to follow.

According to a report by the BBC from 2018, “more than 15,000 Ethiopian children have been adopted in the US since 1999” alone, with many numbers of children adopted to European nations unaccounted for.

Among celebrities who adopted children from Ethiopia are, Oscar winning actress Angelina Jolie, Mary-Louise Parker and Brooke Smith. Angelina has been a frequent visitor of Ethiopia with her daughter, Zahara, most recently in 2019 and held an audience with Ethiopia’s current President, Sahle-Work Zewde. The actress and United Nations Goodwill ambassador have also promoted international development and has promised to make her children become familiar to her home country.

In 2014, she also lent her name for the production of ‘Difret’, a Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, a KANA executive, co-produced by Harvard educated medical doctor partner, Mehret Mandefro film that highlighted the story of woman activist, now the President of the Ethiopian Federal Supreme Court, Meaza Ashnafi. 

We wish her the best of luck in representing Belgium in the coming year”, the ambassador in Addis Ababa added.