Happy Throwback Thursday!

Did you know that many of our projects are funded by our donors, personally raising funds for EOR? We’ve had friends run marathon’s, in lieu of gifts for their wedding or birthday asked friends to give to EOR, lemonade stands, garage sales, kids emptying their piggy bank and memorial gifts and more.

Today’s #TBT photo is of the Lola Children’s Home Clinic Room that was funded by the family and friends of Fred Williams. Mr. Williams son and daughter in law have been long time supporters of the work EOR is doing in Ethiopia. When he passed away they wanted to be able to give back as he was so honored that two of his grandchildren were adopted from Ethiopia.

This clinic room is used to treat any of the Lola Children and sometimes community members who are ill. Children come to the clinic to get their daily meds, weights, plumpy nut and any health related issues.

If you would like to host a party, birthday, or fundraise for EOR we would love to hear from you. Please email us at info@ethiopianorphanrelief.org

To make a gift in honor of someone please visit here.



International Women’s Day

The UN theme for International Women’s Day 2014 is Inspiring Change.


While most countries have made strides in development of women’s rights, there is still much to be done. The UN reports: Many women around the world still cannot get access to secondary education. This holds true for the women and girls of Ethiopia. That’s why we are so very glad that Ethiopian Orphan Relief is partnered with Children’s Heaven. Children’s Heaven’s mission is to:

Embrace and empower the precious orphaned girls entrusted to our care in an effort to minimize their socioeconomic vulnerability.”

This is accomplished through various means of support. The 115 girls at Children’s Heaven to go public school, receive tutoring, learn vocational skills, are provided with health care, and participate in a daily program all in an effort to….”see all our girls lead healthy an productive adult lives. “

Many of these services are provided by YOU, the supporters of Ethiopian Orphan Relief. Your donations advance the cause of Ethiopian women. Be proud of the work that you do. You make it possible to end hunger and poverty for the Children Heaven girls.


Ethiopian Orphan Relief is thrilled to share with you that in June 2014 we will be making our first grant of $25,000 to Children’s Heaven’s Education Fund. This grant will be used to send girls in the program to private school. Funds will be used for tuition, school supplies, books and transportation.  Private schools in Ethiopia provide a much better learning opportunity, have higher qualified teachers, learning resources i.e. science labs, math labs, etc.  and data has shown more success in their learning.


In addition to this $25,000 grant this June, we will grant an additional $25,000 for June 2015. This $50,000 Education program is groundbreaking for EOR and we are thrilled that you are joining us in this.

Last month in Ohio donors gathered at Night of Warmth and generously gave with their hearts to start the funding of this grant. In May, in Portland, Oregon all the proceeds from the silent auction in Lights of Hope will be designated to this grant.

Thank you for all YOU do for the children in Ethiopia.


We’ve been running at full-tilt for the last few days.  The cousins arrived from Florida to enjoy a Buckeye Thanksgiving, and the house has been full-to-bursting since Wednesday.  11 people–eating, laughing, playing games, making art and…eating.  It’s a joyous occasion. Nothing illustrates my American good fortune like setting aside half a week to feast with some of the people I love best!

In the midst of all of this celebrating, my Ethiopian friends remain much on my mind.  I think about my friend Tiru, who is celebrating her Thanksgiving with all of her lovely daughters away from home for the first time.  I think about my friend Seleshi, who’s mother is visiting the United States for the first time since he moved here more than 20 years ago.  I think about Demissew, the man I met at the airport in Mekelle.  Every day I  wait for news that he’ll be starting his PhD program this spring at my alma mater, The Florida State University (with full funding, fingers crossed!)  And always, always, I think about dear friends at Children’s Heaven, Lola Children’s Home, and FOVC.

How nice, that in a life that was already filled-to-the-brim with good fortune, I’ve been given the gift of a wider world view.  The people I know, the places I’ve been…I’m an incredibly lucky girl, um, middle-aged woman.

So gifted, that when pressed to name a Christmas wish, I could only think to ask for one thing:  a goat (or a sheep… I’m not picky).  My relatives thought this a fabulous idea, so I know they won’t mind a bit when they receive the same, because really…what more could we wish for?  We all enjoy fine health, lovely homes, terrific kids, happy marriages and abundance. Nothing under my Christmas tree could possibly change my life in any lasting way, but the gift of a goat (or cow, a sheep, or chickens) will make a real difference to my very real friends in Ethiopia.

I’m sure most of you have been counting your blessings over the past few days too.  I hope that like me, you find your life is overflowing with good.  If so, maybe you’ll also ask for a goat for a holiday gift, or maybe you’ll give a gift of livestock instead?   Who wouldn’t like 8 chickens for Hanukkah?

Hoping your life is as abundant as mine,


Want to fill someone’s stocking with a sheep? Here’s how:


What’s your favorite

It’s busy event planning time here at EOR. In Ohio you’ll find the EOR ladies, Paige, Amy and Alex putting the final touches of Night of Warmth. In Oregon, Lauren, Molly, Kim and Jenny working on Lights of Hope.

Were always looking for new auction item ideas. Who better to come to then YOU all! Share with us a favorite item you’ve seen at an charity auction.

Thanks friends!

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day

First Posted on December 1, 2009

As a teenager in the age of AIDS, the very notion of such an esoteric disease was both personal and scary.  When I left home for college, I applied a fairly rigid set of standards to my own behavior to avoid becoming HIV+.   That’s how AIDS affected me.

In my early 20’s, I became the director of an Extended Day Program.  I was much younger than the rest of the directors, ran a financially beleaguered program, and was new.  So popular, I couldn’t stand it!  Delightful L ran a similar program and was marginalized for other reasons.  He became a good friend and great source of comfort in that difficult first year.  I knew he was ill, but couldn’t believe it when a few months after leaving his job, he died of AIDS.  His diagnosis was kept secret from everyone, including friends, and his adoring grandmother insisted that only pneumonia be listed as his cause of death.  I, like everyone, knew that a larger-scale tragedy had taken place.  That’s how AIDS affected me.

In my early 30’s, our up-and-coming neighborhood in Chicago housed a program for those living with AIDS.  I donated a few  meals, some toiletries and cash, and would wince with guilt knowing I could do more, but didn’t  as I sauntered past to my own healthy life.  That’s how AIDS affected me.

In my late 30’s I prepared to adopt from Ethiopia.  Initially terrified that I might bring home an HIV+ baby, I was comforted by the thought of numerous tests designed to assure us and a worried US government that our little one would be healthy.  AIDS could remain confined to Africa, with no residue clinging to my own life.  That’s how AIDS affected me.

In my early 40’s, I took a second trip to Ethiopia.  I met hundreds of children whose eyes were haunted with loss, and felt my heart break in two when a girl at Children’s Heaven shared her personal narrative.  After her mother died, she and her sister lived alone and eventually sold their spoons as a means to pay for food.  Contemplating a world of orphaned children with no resources keeps me awake at night.  That’s how AIDS affects me.


Today, as every day, I spend a lot of time thinking about the plight of orphans living in Ethiopia.  I can grieve my friend L, be thankful that my daughter is healthy, and donate money to EOR for orphan projects without ever really thinking about the insidious disease that creates chaos in homes, in families, in communities.  I have that luxury, though it is one afforded to few others in the world.  My duty is to step away from that privilege,  to really examine AIDS and its impact, and to find my own part in a solution, no matter how small the role.  EOR’s partner projects are working hard to make a difference.  Friends in my world are working hard to make a difference.  I must make a difference.  When I look back on my early 40’s, I want to see direction and motivation in what I do to combat AIDS.  Today is World AIDS Day and AIDS  does affect me


*I’ll be making an additional contribution to Children’s Heaven this month.  I’ll contribute an additional 1.23(1.00, for each one of you, 23–the number of years World AIDS Day has been commemorated)  on behalf of each person who leaves a comment on this post.  Thank you for doing your part.

anytime at all, all you’ve got to do is call, and I’ll be there…

Lucky us! Many of you have emailed and called over the past few weeks about items you could donate for us (EOR) to take to Ethiopia in November.   We are so heartened by your generosity.

Here is a brief list of things we are gathering.

  • glow sticks necklaces

    glue sticks

    light weight dresses


    light weight shorts

    socks toddler size to adult medium

    underwear toddler size to adult medium

  • Lightweight jackets or polar fleeces, again in sizes toddler to adult medium

  • $3 to buy 12 notebooks for one year for a girl at Children’s Heaven

    $ for excess luggage fees

  • pediatric urine collection bags
    wound gauze/pads
    alcohol wipes

  • bandaids

  • gloves, both vinyl and latex

  • and I have a special request.  The children of Ethiopia have very few  maps and globes to find their place in the world.  Realistic blow-up globes would be amazing teaching tools for their classrooms, so would a few world maps. Here’s a link to an example of a good inflatable globe:



If you’d like to donate an item or items, please get in touch and we’ll give you a mailing address.  As always, we appreciate your devotion to the kids of Ethiopia.  YOU are EOR!





Our boy turned four today.

Not a huge, monumental milestone birthday … but definitely bigger than the baby we brought home more than 3 years ago from Addis.  See, mentally, sometimes, I still feel like I’m “there.”  And by “there,” I mean in that new mom stage, with the baby, and the diaper bag, and the stroller, and all the supplies, and all the “rules” that came with having an infant (you know, the “No eggs before nine months!  He must be off the bottle by his first birthday!”)

But in reality, those days are long behind us.  Eli is four now … and though it’s only been a few years since those baby days, four is really a world away from infancy.  Just the other day, Eli and I were driving to preschool and talking about Ethiopia, and how he was born there, and how beautiful it is there.  But then, I thought to myself – he’s ready to learn a little more.

“You know, some of the people who live in Ethiopia are quite poor, Eli.”

“They’re bored?” he asked incredulously.

“No, sweetie, they’re poor — that means they don’t have a lot of money for food, or clothes, or homes, or school.”

“That’s TERRIBLE!”

“I know!  But there are things we can do to help them.”

“Like give them money?” I saw him screw up his little face in the rear-view mirror.  He was thinking hard.  Then he said, “Mommy, I have money in my piggy bank.  I can give it to the people in Ethiopia so they can buy food, and drinks, and graham crackers, and chocolate, and marshmallows.  Please can I? I really want to.”

My heart melted like a stick of butter right there.  I literally almost pulled the car over and started crying.  (Let me fill you in for a sec and tell you that Eli has three dollars and change in his piggy bank that he counts all the time and is sooo proud of.)

What really hit me was the pure, innocent and genuine love young children have for others.  That most adults — even the kindest and most loving and generous adults — lack.  The no-questions-asked, no “what’s-in-it-for-me?” generosity.

And here I am, this little boy’s mother, always rushing around thinking of “this” or “that” — with the ability to give, do SOMETHING … and yet still doing not much at all.

So, in honor of my Ethiopian son’s birthday, I am challenging myself to give more and do more.  I challenge you to do the same.  If a four-year-old can give all the money he has, then we, as grown-ups, can at least give a little.

And he’s also thrown toys into the equation.  Totally out of the blue yesterday, he said, “Mommy, I have toys and I think the children in Ethiopia might not have any.  I want to give them mine.”

So, I say, if a four year old can give his toys to children in need, then certainly we, as adults, can donate some small toys or items to go in a child’s backpack for EOR’s upcoming trip to Ethiopia.

Who’s with me?


enduring power of words

On Sunday, the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial was dedicated.  The monument to him rests among those of presidents on the Washington  Mall.  In looking at all the photos and articles about the day, this  one below made me think of things in a different way.  Take a look at  the article and then look online to see all the quotes from MLK Jr. that line his memorial and remind us all that his work has come far,  but is far from over.  When we look at our families, our friends, our  nation and our world, let us remember that our words have the power to  heal, hurt, change and empower.  “From King, I learned that most of us commit more violence with our  words than with our fists, and if words are weapons, let them be  weapons used for that which is good and elevates.”

  The King Memorial should be understood as a tribute to the enduring  power of words. There’s almost a straight line between it and the  Jefferson and Lincoln memorials because the designers wanted to create  what they called a visual “line of leadership.” But it’s also a  literary line of leadership because few American leaders have shaped  their nation and the world with their words as did Jefferson from the  18th century, Lincoln from the 19th century and King from the 20th  century, each in a time of crisis.

Jefferson’s “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain  unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit  of Happiness” was the ideal that nurtured those of Lincoln and King  and shaped their work and words.  Although the statue of King looks away from the Jefferson Memorial,  the truth is that King was always looking toward Jefferson and his  words and his fight to make them real for all is why he lived and why  he died.  But what is he looking at?  Those who make the pilgrimage to this  magnificent memorial to this hewer of hope, drum major for justice and  tribune of nonviolence can sit and think about it.  Then, they can rise up and use his blueprint to help get us there.”

excerpt from *MLK’s quotes on and around the memorial stir emotions*

By Cary Clack / Express-News

To read the article in its entirety, please visit:




   I imagine a lot of you are like me.  You’ve been to Ethiopia, and at the end of your trip, returned home with a bit of birr–some to give as souvenirs, some to tuck away as a memento, and I’m hoping, some leftover after exchanging it on the last day or so of your visit.

If you do have some spare birr hanging around, will you consider donating it to EOR’s immediate need fund?

While we can make plans to fund projects before we go to Ethiopia in November, we can’t anticipate every need.  A slush fund of sorts allows us to buy baby formula or shoes or toys or firewood or bananas when we see a need.  We will take a small discretionary fund, and the 8 travelers will contribute too,  but sending us the birr (even small amounts) leftover from your previous trips is an excellent way to make a significant contribution.  As always, we will  be sure to share the amount we raise, (and the good it does) with all of   YOU!

Birr Donations should be mailed to:

Paige Chapman-Layland

447 Greenglade Avenue

Worthington  Ohio  43085

Paige  (who really LOVES to get mail)