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 wheel shows what we hope to accomplish in the lives of those whom God sends our way through a holistic intervention, with a free Day Care at the hub.
These are some of the projects we aim to set our hands to:
Phase 1: Day Care Program (currently underway)
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.
We run 2 licensed Day Cares (one for babies under age 2 and another for children age 2 – 4) that serve almost 120 children. 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.
We now have 2 Day Cares that are licensed for 110 children to attend on a daily basis in the Kore’ slum of Addis Ababa. Over 100 moms are freed up to work while their children ages 0 – 5 (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.
Phase 2: Family Based Resource Building (currently underway)
Not only do we get to provide Day Care for over 100 families, we also get the huge privilege of partnering with them in the building of skills, education, savings, personal value & income generation. This is part of the Day Care / Holistic Intervention Project. Through our Generous partners we are able to:
- Provide Living Grants to help with basic needs of food & shelter.
- Supplemental food, hygiene materials and clothing for families.
- Free Health care for children and Moms.
- Special assistance for those who are HIV+ or have special medical or nutritional requirements.
- The formation of community for many moms who have none.
- Micro-grants for starting business.
- 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.
- We will rely on local churches as well as local government officials to help us serve the poorest of the poor who are not presently receiving services.
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 in small scale farming, etc. 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 the Day Care Project as well as Family Support and Empowerment. For more information on Family Sponsorships, please click here.
Phase 3: Community Development and Children’s Library / Literacy Center (currently underway)
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. As of this writing, we have over 40 Moms who are learning to read and write for the first time in their lives. This investment will change the world for them. They are so excited to be learning and can’t wait to write their names – for the first time ever.
Phase 4: Educational Opportunities (Currently Underway)
As we have continued to serve younger children, we have seen a need develop. We need a school for them to attend. Every year we have almost 30 children who start Kindergarten for the first time. To use existing schools in our area for the long term will result in overloading their systems. So, our EHE Kindergarten was opened in the Fall 2013! This is a high quality Nursery School and KG that can continue to help the children in the project grow. Our dream is to then add 1 grade level each year to help provide a growing school in our area. Once a child turns age 3, they enter into our Nursery School Program the next Fall.
At the same time, this will mean that we will be opening slots in the Day Care Project each year. So, as 30 children go off to school, we’ll be able to provide Day Care services and holistic family interventions for 30 new children. We’ll continue to be involved in the lives of children as they start school and have new children add. This will help the project to continue to grow at a sustainable pace.
Phase 5: After School Program and Long Term Family Sponsorship (currently underway)
Providing an after school program for children who are school age in which they would be fed, given a place to belong, grow in English language skills, be further educated, be tutored, play, grow in basic character development, and acquire further social skills.
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. Once the child reaches age 5 or so, there is a different form of intervention needed. With this After School Program we can continue to walk alongside the family, partnering with them, but in a much less intensive kind of way.
We already are seeing a growing need for this. Imagine being a Mom who wants an education for your child, so you send them to Pre-KG. However, they have homework that they bring home to help them learn. The problem is that you are totally illiterate. Therefore, your child struggles, they are frustrated and they are not getting the most benefit of their education. The solution is that we can provide a safe place for children to come to…but also a place where they can be tutored so that they can excel in school.
This project also gives opportunity for us to develop relationship with the families and assess other needs that we can assist in meeting, including parenting education and job / skill training. We will also look for opportunities to help children stay in school through the provision of uniforms, school supplies, and health care.
Phase 6: More Day Care Centers (future)
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.
As we put our project proposal together for another 3 year license in country, we hope to see another center open that will serve another area of Addis Ababa. The need is great.
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.