We are committed to finding ways in which we can minister in holistic ways with children and their families who are the most vulnerable and find ways to help families to keep their children in their family of origin by coming alongside them in a supportive role, as well as helping to set orphans into families within an Ethiopian context. This is a local initiative that employs 49 Ethiopian staff, with great ownership by the beneficiaries as well.
We believe in carefully seeing dignity restored to each individual we serve. Through years of begging, prostitution, scavenging and providing menial work in the community, many Moms begin to view themselves as worthless and outcasts. Society starts viewing them in the same way. However, we long to see Moms grab ahold of the idea that they were made in God’s image and were made to know dignity. We assist this process not only by what we do, but rather by doing these activities in a caring environment that addresses individual needs and that longs to show Jesus love and mercy in practical ways every step of the way.
This wheel shows what we hope to accomplish in the lives of those whom God sends our way through a holistic intervention. Day Care becomes an entry point in the lives of the poorest of the poor families. Then over time we walk with them, partnering with them to see poverty cycles broken and hope embraced.
Below are the projects we are engaged in:
Day Care Program
We are providing a full day caring environment for poor, vulnerable families in which children are; fed, educated, learn basis character development, play, feel valued, acquire social skills, and are loved on in Jesus’ name while at the same time their parents are free to seek out work in the community.
Our licensed Day Care serves almost 100 children from ages 1 month up to 3 years old. At the same time we are providing employment to over 40 Ethiopians.
We became very aware of the need for something like a Day Care the first time we saw a mother begging in the 3 foot wide median strip at a busy intersection with her 1 year old baby. We thought, “What if someone could care for that child while the mom could find some kind of work?” We saw a way for a child to be nurtured, a mom to be helped and for their family to stay intact. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this same scene in countless places now – on street corners, in the garbage dump and even moms carrying a heavy load on their back to earn a living while they have their baby strapped to their front. We see this as an opportunity to demonstrate Jesus love in a very practical way which has the potential to transform life for a family.
Through the EHE Day Care, almost 100 moms are freed up to work while their children ages 0 – 3 (mostly around 18 months old) come to a safe environment where they are fed nutritious meals, clothed, provided health care and have opportunity to grow through Early Childhood Education. Best of all…these kids get to return home with Mom at the end of the day. Mom is able to get a full days work – moving toward sustainability – and the children get a safe place to grow physically, relationally, mentally, and spiritually. Its a pretty good deal.
And, these children are getting healthy. It is amazing to watch as children who were once malnourished and withdrawn with apparently little mental activity are coming to life. The Day Care Center is a place of learning, laughter, life…AND Hope.
Every day over 100 children attend The Embracing Hope School. When a child turns age 3, he or she enters into the Nursery School program at the school. We then offer Kindergarten Level 1, Kindergarten Level 2, and as of Fall of 2015 we will be offering 1st Grade. This school will grow by one grade level every year through 8th Grade.
This school is licensed by the Ministry of Education. We have highly qualified teachers who believe in teaching children the curriculum while also helping them to grow in creativity and character.
In addition to education, our school, like the Day Care, gives children the ability to be: fed, learn basic character development, play, feel valued, acquire social skills, and to be loved on in Jesus’ name while at the same time their parents are free to seek out work in the community.
Approximately 40 new children enter our school every year. This then permits us to add another 40 children into the Day Care where holistic family interventions can be provided for 40 new children. This helps the project to continue to grow at a sustainable pace, while giving us the privilege of walking with families as their child continues to grow.
We also provide literacy training for Mothers. Over half of the Moms that EHE has served are totally illiterate, unable to write their own names. Two times per week, Moms are provided with literacy training in a classroom environment. This is bringing about great dignity for Moms as they are learning to read and write – skills they had totally given up on ever acquiring.
In the future we will be offering After School Programming for children to be tutored and to continue to learn and socialize after school and during the summer when there is no school.
Not only do we get to provide Day Care for almost 200 families, we also get the huge privilege of partnering with them in the building of skills, education, savings, personal value & income generation. Through our Generous partners we are able to:
– Provide Living Grants to help with basic needs of food & shelter during times of crisis.
– Provide seed money and training for Micro-Savings for mothers. Within a short amount to time of being empowered to save, they are able to take care of many of the crises that come along without looking for a handout. This is a huge dignity restorer for them.
– Supplemental food, hygiene materials and clothing for families. This is not enough to survive off of, but is meant to supplement.
– Free Health care for children and Moms.
– Special assistance for those who have HIV, TB, disabilities or special medical or nutritional requirements.
– The formation of community for many moms who have none.
– Micro-grants for starting business.
– Special Co-op grants for starting a Breakfast House (Cafe), Sewing Center, Hair Salon and Petty Trading Opportunities.
– Relational connections with Social Workers who are able to help with needs that are specific to families – helping them to embrace hope in all areas of their lives – including the difficult areas.
– An outlet for Moms to use the gifts/abilities of the individual to provide a community asset
– Training of Moms in Life Skills, Job Skills, Health and Hygiene…as well as helping them to learn to read and write or further their education.
– Participation includes a desire to look at all aspects of poverty and the offer of reconciliation.
– The Good News of Jesus presented in both word and in deed.
– Preference is given to unemployed, underemployed who are orphan vulnerable. All women upon entry into the project make less than 400 ETB ($22 USD) per month and they are the sole breadwinner for the family..
Our aim here is to come alongside families who are living on the edge and face the stark reality that they may have to relinquish their children and “orphan” them because of their current inability to provide basic needs for the child. This could take the form of mini-grants to help with micro-enterprise, providing formula for infants when breast milk is not an option, basic skills development. We believe that there are many creative options available and worth exploring to encourage the retention of potential orphans in their family of origin.
The Family Support amount is provided to the family in the form of teff, oil, hygiene items, clothing, furnishings, etc. as the social worker assesses need, and with the understanding that other parts of the program are being met.
Micro-grants are given to Moms at a time deemed most appropriate, which can be used to start an approved business of the Mom’s choosing, while also jump starting a Savings Account for the Mom which encourages Savings. Most families in Addis Ababa are incapable of saving even a small amount, so this program could assist them to build savings and promote sustainability.
The monthly support is provided by Family Sponsorships from US Churches, individuals, etc. The monthly sponsorship covers the cost of all components of the EHE Holistic Intervention. For more information on Family Sponsorships, please click here.
Community Development and Children’s Library / Literacy Center
We look to cooperate with other ministries and the local community in identifying needs within the community. One potential need is training programs for local families in need to learn skills in the areas of parenting, HIV awareness, hygiene, sanitation, public health, etc. We are actively trying to assist the community with these needs.
We also have opened a Children’s Library and Literacy Center. This will provide a place for children to grow in reading and for Moms to learn to read and write. We have a couple of computers and plenty of books, which will not only be an asset to our project participants, but also to the community at large.
At the same time we have a Literacy Educator on staff who is tutoring the children as well as teaching the Moms in the project to read.
In 2014 Embracing Hope Ministries was launched. This ministry runs in tandem alongside the development work is able to provide opportunities for Moms to come to know Jesus and to grow in knowing Him. We provide Discipleship Groups, Bible Studies, and Counseling opportunities for Moms who desire to grow spiritually.
This Ministry also has dreams of being able to share the Good News of Jesus in word in other locations throughout Ethiopia, too.
Long Term Family Sponsorship / Dependency Prevention
We recognize that for the families we serve, our original intervention with them is almost like Intensive Care. Imagine bringing a mother and her infant child in who only knows begging on the road and is sick and hopeless. The family is vulnerable to not making while at the same time the child is vulnerable to not surviving. This family needs an intensive amount of support.
As the family moves down the road of health, the child starts to school and gets older, the mother finds work, etc. the needs of the family changes. We recognize the need for a Step Down intervention for this family, so that Dependency does not take root.
To help us battle dependency, we now have the ability to step down the resources we are providing to Moms as they start moving toward sustainability. In the end, we will continue caring for the educational needs of children long term as well as providing spiritual support, life skills support and social work to Moms.
With the need to turn away over 1,300 mothers just in our local district every year, we have hopes of starting other centers in other districts. We are prayerfully considering what it might take to see other Day Cares started that could impact other families living in impoverished areas throughout Ethiopia and perhaps even other nations.
In the meantime, we have been encouraged to be able to help resource other organizations who are starting day care centers in our area. We are grateful to see others answering this same call to see families preserved and orphans prevented.