Over a rainy weekend two years ago, my husband put together a playground for our 1 year old daughter, Amelie. We adopted her from Ethiopia a couple months prior—she was our first child and after the painful wait to bring her home, we wanted to spoil her. When he was done, the sun came out, and she was squealing so loud—it was her first time in a swing. I was feeling pretty awesome about our little family, when my husband interrupted my virtual back patting…
They didn’t have a playground at the orphanage, you know. We could have used the money we spent on this to buy them one. We could have made 300 kids as happy as she is right now.
Five months later, after much thinking, reading and talking with family & friends, I formed Ethiopian Orphan Relief, Inc., a non-profit that gifts completed projects to improve the lives of Ethiopian orphans. In just 1.5 years, we’ve raised nearly $100,000 and have several projects underway—two playgrounds, equipment for an HIV clinic & lab and a community center where orphaned teenaged girls will learn job and life skills.
All of this has been accomplished by a group of adoptive moms volunteering their time—many of our children shared a room at the same orphanage. Now, when I see my children enjoying their playground, I am able to enjoy it—and picture the children in Ethiopia doing the same.
This essay was entered into Martha Stewart’s “Dreamers Into Doers” contest. The winner receives $10,000 toward their venture. Judging begins today-wish us luck.