Partner update–Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Hello Friends!

It’s been so long since we’ve posted an update about our southern Ethiopia partner, FOVC, it seems like it’s time to share!  You may remember that more than 2 years ago we began a campaign to fund the building of FOVC. The program, in existence since 2006, was meeting on an empty field. Fine in clear weather, the field was unusable for most of the 3+ month rainy season. EOR pledged to build classrooms, dormitories, and bathrooms and in November of 2011, we visited (and painted) the beautiful new building WE had built.

fovc thank you

Thanks to YOU, FOVC is available to serve the needs of the community year-round.  Secure in its’ housing,  FOVC has continued to grow, supporting more and more children each month.  If you’ve never taken a look, visit FOVC’s website to learn of the amazing work they do.  You can also learn more about this fabulous partner on a regular basis by liking them on Facebook.

Your support is vital to organizations like FOVC.  Thank you, for all that YOU do to help!




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:


Oh so Classy!

Heard the big news?  Ethiopian Orphan Relief is being considered for a Stay Classsy Award…again!

Our entry last year took us all the way to the final round–who knows how far we’ll make it this year–we’re in a pool of more than 3,000 now, and hoping to be considered in the top 10%.  In the meantime, we thought we’d share our entry with YOU, the wonderful supporters who make all of EOR’s successes possible.  Please share with your friends.  If we make it to the next round, we’ll need lots of votes from YOU and everyone you know.


Thanks Friends!!



Ethiopian Orphan Relief Makes BIG Difference in the Lives of Little Kids


Ethiopian Orphan Relief’s partner, Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children was running a successful orphan care program for several hundred of southern Ethiopia’s most vulnerable children, but without any shelter, found it impossible to maintain through the 3 month-long rainy season.

Walk into the home office of Ethiopian Orphan Relief President Kim Pasion, and you’ll find the walls adorned with maps of Ethiopia, children’s drawings, and dozens of pictures of beautiful Ethiopian children. Pasion, a stay at home mother of two, including a daughter from Ethiopia, remarks, “I see something of my daughter in each of these photos.”

Pasion, along with 6 other mothers, founded this all-volunteer organization in 2008. Recently returned from trips to adopt their children, these women were eager to give back to the country that gave so much to them.

Ethiopian Orphan Relief, Inc. was founded upon a simple premise—to make life better for the children of Ethiopia. EOR works in partnership with local organizations to provide healthy food, education, warm beds, joyful play and more. In 2008, the seven board members of EOR fervently hoped that they would raise $5000, enough money to build a playground for one of its partner organizations. By the end of the year, more than $33,000 was in the bank—enough to build a playground and fund several other projects as well.

As the number of EOR supporters has grown, so has its ability to fund larger and more ambitious projects. In 2010, Desalegn Daka, Director of Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (FOVC) submitted a proposal to EOR. FOVC had a robust program in place to meet the needs of hundreds of southern Ethiopia’s most vulnerable children, but had no building to house it. Meals, classes, and playtime all happened in an open field. The annual rainy season brings daily torrential downpours, making it impossible to meet without shelter. A lack of kitchen and sanitation facilities further hampered the program. Could EOR build an entire orphan care facility so the program could run year-round?

Lauren Andronici, EOR’s partners & projects chair, was quick to share her reservations. “I love the work that FOVC is doing, and I fully support them, but I have no idea how we’ll raise this money and support our other partners too.” The other board members agreed with this assessment, but decided to commit to the project, hoping to finish within 3 years. An amazing 494 days later, FOVC’s facility was complete–classrooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms, brick-by-brick, one donation at a time. From $6 to a single $7,000 donation, generous gifts poured in. By the time EOR’s team visited in November of 2011, the buildings were ready, and waiting to be painted.

Daka beams when asked about the changes he sees now that the center is complete, “It is because of our partnership with EOR that our children are able to get their basic needs and have hope to fulfill their visions. Due to EOR’s help, FOVC has a home where the children currently have different activities of schooling, and recreation and meals. The kids feel safe at FOVC. Besides balls & sport clothes, EOR has bought education materials and black boards, and medicine which has made a tremendous effect in their health, education and self-esteem. Thank you EOR for helping our kids.”  (we included a link to our latest video about the work WE do!)




More About This Charity

Hunger and Poverty Relief
Ethiopian Orphan Relief, Inc.
Ethiopian Orphan Relief, Inc. (EOR) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that works to improve the living conditions and lives of orphaned and vulnerable children in Ethiopia. We work in partnership with local organizations to support the emotional and physical needs of these children. It is our goal to ensure that every child in Ethiopia has a warm bed, a loving influence, and sufficient education to better their lives.
This Achievement has raised $103,000
In 494 days (less than half the time planned) EOR funded and built an entire orphan care facility for one of our partners, FOVC.
2350 people were helped by this Achievement
Between January 1, 2011 and today this charity has helped 10,750 people
Donate →
The CLASSY Awards is the largest philanthropic awards ceremony in the country, celebrating the greatest charitable achievements by nonprofit organizations, socially conscious businesses, and individuals worldwide. In 2011, nearly 2,000 organizations and volunteers were nominated for a CLASSY Award, and their collective efforts impacted the lives of more than 200,000,000 people in 71 countries worldwide.

” Hollywood has Oscar, Broadway has Tony, and now Philanthropy has the CLASSYs! “

World Water Day 2012

I thought I’d share some stories about Ethiopia, and water, on World Water Day 2012.

See these gorgeous guys?  When we met them at FOVC in November,  FOVC’s water project had been started, but not completed (they were waiting for a part for the pump to arrive).  In the meantime, these sweet boys and the dozens of other children at FOVC were given water as it was made available.  As you can see from the bottle, this water was filthy, but all that they had to drink/use for washing/use for cooking.

A  hand-washing station was available at FOVC,  just outside the new bathroom facilities EOR built last year.  A 3 gallon plastic container hung from a rail over a shallow basin, allowing multiple children the opportunity to wash.  Heated in the bright sunshine, the water swirled through the jug, brown and full of sediment.  EOR’s travel team chose not to use this water to wash, despite strong suggestions from the children.  Spying the clear bottles of thick sanitizer we used instead, they yelled, “ferenge water, ferenge water.” The children believe that I live in a world where my water is clean, and in this case, thick.

On the very first day we were in Ethiopia, the EOR travel team visited the water project we helped to fund in Busa.  Few sights moved me more than the reservoir and the beautifully-constructed 4 pt tap,

the reservoir at Busa

although the pride etched on each resident’s face comes awfully close.  Appreciative as they were to have the funding for this project, the village elders were obviously proud of what they had secured for themselves and their children.  This clean water means more girls go to school, fewer people die of water-borne disease, and that women have the ability to earn more for their families now that they spend fewer hours collecting water.   Seeing the benefits first-hand left an indelible mark.  I will trumpet the need for clean water (in Ethiopia and the rest of the world) for the remainder of my days.

The elders of Busa gathered to meet us at the reservoir.

As Ethiopian Orphan Relief reaches its 4th anniversary, it’s exciting to share that we have big plans for the coming year–among other things, land acquisition, a kitchen project, chicken coops, and yes, a  continued commitment to clean water.  On this 19th World Water Day, EOR recognizes that clean water is everything to the people of Ethiopia.  Indeed, it is everything to the world.

I’ll be making a special contribution to EOR’s water funding this week.  I’ll make an additional $1.19 contribution for each comment and each share.  Together, we can make clean water a reality for more Ethiopians.

YOU are clean water for Ethiopia.  YOU are EOR!


a tap in Busa flows with clean water

The time has come

494 days ago EOR partnered with FOVC-Ethiopia. FOVC (friends of orphans and vulnerable children) is located outside the village of Shanto, in the Wolaito zone of Southern Ethiopia. This area is one of the poorest parts of the country, and the children in this region were truly suffering.

Our goal was to fund the building of their school, orphanage care center and kitchen. This partnership would be the biggest project in EOR history. We had anticipated it would take us 3 or 4 years to fully fund this project. Well we were wrong.

With donations from $6 to $5000 EACH and EVERY donation made a BIG difference. We are thrilled to share that this week a very generous couple in our Nation’s Capital funded the remaining $2500 for FOVC-Ethiopia.

100%, yes 100% of this project was funded by donors of Ethiopian Orphan Relief, Inc. YOU are EOR, YOU provided a place for these most vulnerable children. YOU are the difference.

In November fellow board members, Paige, Lauren and I will be placing the very last brick and I can guarantee you there will be many tears and cheers of happiness.

With much gratitude we say thank you for giving with your heart, brick by brick to finish this project.

Kim, Paige, Lauren, Jenny, Molly, Amy & Alex ~ EOR Board Members

Orphanage care center will now be completed because of YOU and YOUR generosity.

Losing for Dollars

We brought fellow adoptive parent and Ethiopian Orphan Relief supporter Dave to your attention a few weeks ago.  Dave decided to tackle a weight loss challenge and a fundraising endeavor in one throw (a multi-tasker after my own heart)!

Beginning on August1, Dave was determined to lose 40 lbs between August 1st and October 31st.  With week 4 in the bag, why not pop over to check on Dave’s progress (including the beefy amount of money he’s already raised) and to wish him well.

You supporters are so cool–you continue to amaze with your fundraising ways!


Losing for Dollars

Thanks Dave!


Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.                                                                    Mark Twain

When my husband and I went to Ethiopia, we went north from the capital to Lalibela. Lalibela is known for its rock hewn churches. Its a place unlike any other.

While we were in Lalibela my husband and I met some local girls who invited us into their home for a coffee ceremony. I decided I was much too exhausted from jet lag to do this, while my husband, who apparently isn’t affected by jet lag was all ready to go. He went to their hut and experienced a typical Ethiopian family’s coffee ceremony. This is something our daughter would have experienced over and over again in her lifetime had she grown up in her Ethiopian family. He came back from the experience full of conversations about the girls’ dreams, life and school in Ethiopia. I can’t help but feel like I truly missed out on an experience that would have stayed with me forever.

Did I know at the time that I would regret not going? I think so, however, I could barely form a sentence due to my lack of sleep. The point of this all is some of the decisions we make in our life are big, some are little. Regardless of size of decision, we need to throw off the bowlines and sail away from the harbor. Take a chance in your life and see where things go. Thinking about adopting? Go for it! Thinking about getting a puppy? Do that too! Thinking about trying a new lasagna? Now’s the time!

For tonight your new thing could be actually voting for the classy awards for EOR. If you have been reading about them but not voting, now is the time. And while you are at it, invite all your friends to vote too. Or donate to EOR so we can finish building the home/school for FOVC-Ethioipia’s children. We only have $2500 left, so close, so very close.

Think about your life and do something that challenges your notion of a normal day. Get involved, throw off the bowlines and set sail! Join EOR in our quest to make life a little better for the vulnerable and orphaned of Ethiopia.