Whining for Wine


This past weekend two of our dear long time donors, James & Annie hosted our first ever “Whining for Wine” event. They gathered their friends together to learn more about Ethiopian Orphan Relief and Lights of Hope Auction.

Guests brought a bottle of wine, or two or three or some four that we will auction off at Lights of Hope’s – Wall of Wine. This wine wall is one of our big hits each year. It’s composed of 80 bottles of red, white and sometimes bubbly greatness. Each bottle is wrapped so you don’t know what your getting until you leave the event. You choose a number of the bottle you want and then wait for the big surprise to see if it’s a $15 bottle or $150 bottle.


Our guests dined on amazing appetizers like Goat Cheese Empanadas, Almond stuffed dates, Queso Fundido and desserts along with a speciality cocktail, beer and wine all while learning about how the bottle of wine they donated is going to directly impact our projects at Children’s Heaven in Addis Ababa.DSC_0718.jpegDSC_0719.jpegDSC_0721.jpeg

The guests were amazing and we collected 31 bottles of wine at the party and many who were unable to attend are dropping off wine to EOR’s office this week.


No party  is complete without a little party favor. Guests were given a cookie to nibble on their drive back into town.


The kids even got in the action. William was in charge of having guests record their wine donations and making sure they put their name in for the door prizes.




Viola and Anne Rose who were both born in Southern, Ethiopia greeted guests as they arrived and took their coats and purses.


Quinn was the master at clean up. He racked up some service hours for all his hard work.

Thank you James and Annie for opening your beautiful home and hosting “Whining for Wine.”

Would you like to donate a bottle of wine or auction item for Lights of Hope’s ? Visit here. 

Save the date May 13th here in Portland for our 9th annual Lights of Hope Auction. 

$9,900 Taco Party

This past spring at Lights of Hope we tried something new. Guests had the opportunity to buy a “Golden Ticket” for $100. If they were the lucky winner they could pick any item out of our live auction line up. Anything… and we had some pretty sweet things like a trip to Italy, poker party, trip to Thailand, just to name a few.

Prior to the drawing of the ticket, Lights of Hope auction chairs Kim and Lauren visited each table to thank them for attending the event. They also asked “what will you pick if you win the golden ticket?” They were as excited as anyone as the buzz in the room over the golden ticket was huge. Time after time guests were answering the “Taco Truck party for 40 guests.”

Well it finally came time to draw the lucky winner. As you can tell he’s a happy winner

600_8843 600_8845

This weekend here in Portland, Paul and Stacey celebrated their Golden Ticket win with 50 friends as they dined on Taco’s from the Taco King’s food truck.


IMG_3349 This new golden ticket idea for EOR was a huge success. We were able to sell 99 tickets and that $9,900 is providing nutritional meals for the girls at Children’s Heaven, medicine for children at Lola, building supplies for land at Lola and so much more.

Thanks to everyone who purchased a ticket, to the Massari family for underwriting the Taco Truck and to Paul and Stacey for supporting EOR.

Join us May 21, 2016 in Portland, Oregon for the 8th annual Lights of Hope Auction. You just might win yourself a golden ticket!

Lights of Hope

Tickets for the 7th annual Lights of Hope in Portland, Oregon went on sale this morning.

Join us May 16th for an evening of HOPE for the children in Ethiopia. You’ll find some great auction items to bid on, dinner and live auction.

Lights of Hope is EOR’s largest fundraising event of the year. This year we will be back at the Hilton with more space! We’ve also been granted free parking at the 5th and Taylor garage!

So gather your friends and join us for a great evening in Portland!

To purchase tickets visit here. To follow Lights of Hope on Facebook and learn of the latest items and news follow us 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.

World Malaria Day


Happy World Malaria Day!  Oh wait, malaria, as we well know, is nothing to celebrate.

Ethiopian Orphan Relief works with our partners in endemic regions of Ethiopia to help prevent the transmission of malaria.  For those of you who know little about the disease, I’ve included a fact sheet from the World Health Organization:

Malaria is a preventable and treatable mosquito-borne disease, whose main victims are children under five years of age in Africa.

The World Malaria Report 2012 summarizes data received from 104 malaria-endemic countries and territories for 2011. Ninety-nine of these countries had on-going malaria transmission.

According to the latest WHO estimates, there were about 219 million cases of malaria in 2010 and an estimated 660 000 deaths. Africa is the most affected continent: about 90% of all malaria deaths occur there.

Between 2000 and 2010, malaria mortality rates fell by 26% around the world. In the WHO African Region the decrease was 33%. During this period, an estimated 1.1 million malaria deaths were averted globally, primarily as a result of a scale-up of interventions.

Funding situation

International disbursements for malaria control rose steeply during the past eight years and were estimated to be US$ 1.66 billion in 2011 and US$ 1.84 billion in 2012. National government funding for malaria programmes has also been increasing in recent years, and stood at an estimated US$ 625 million in 2011.

However, the currently available funding for malaria prevention and control is far below the resources required to reach global malaria targets. An estimated US$ 5.1 billion is needed every year between 2011 and 2020 to achieve universal access to malaria interventions. In 2011, only US$ 2.3 billion was available, less than half of what is needed.

Disease burden

Malaria remains inextricably linked with poverty. The highest malaria mortality rates are being seen in countries that have the highest rates of extreme poverty (proportion of population living on less than US$ 1.25 per day).

International targets for reducing malaria cases and deaths will not be attained unless considerable progress can be made in the 17 most affected countries, which account for an estimated 80% of malaria cases.

50 countries are on track to reduce their malaria case incidence rates by 75%, in line with World Health Assembly and Roll Back Malaria targets for 2015. These 50 countries only account for 3% (7 million) of the total estimated malaria cases.

At present, malaria surveillance systems detect only around 10% of the estimated global number of cases. In 41 countries around the world, it is not possible to make a reliable assessment of malaria trends due to incompleteness or inconsistency of reporting over time.

This year, the World Malaria Report 2012 publishes country-based malaria case and mortality estimates. The next update on global and regional burden estimates will be issued in December 2013.

The easiest way to prevent transmission of malaria is to provide bed nets for everyone living in a malarial zone.

Several years ago, EOR made a commitment to provide bed nets to FOVC, our partner in Southern Ethiopia. We brought hundreds of them on our trip in November 2011.


At Lights of Hope next month, we will once again ask friends to donate $10 for bed nets to combat malaria.  Each $10 donation will pay for 2-3 nets (depending on the exchange rate at the time of purchase).  A single net is large enough to cover a sleeping area for 4-6.  Your $10 donation could prevent the transmission of malaria for more than a dozen people!

Not planning to attend Lights of Hope?  Why not make a donation today, and help EOR combat Ethiopia in southern Ethiopia?


Thanks for all that you do, every day, to support the work of Ethiopian Orphan Relief.  We couldn’t do it without YOU!



The gift that keeps giving

Exciting news from Lola in Mekelle. As you recall last May at Lights of Hope in Portland we auctioned off a Chicken Coop. The proceeds from that coop went to Lola to purchase a chicken coop + chickens for the HIV affected children.

Yesterday we received these adorable photos of the chickens and their offspring. So glad to see our donation multiplying. 

Kim, Lauren, JoAnna & Sara





Lights of Hope

Each spring in Portland, Oregon friends and family gather together to bring hope to the orphan and vulnerable children in Ethiopia.


On May 18th we will be celebrating the 5th annual Lights of Hope Auction. Guests will enjoy an evening of dinner, drinks, silent and live auctions. We hope you can join us!

To purchase tickets please click here.

As we join together, we truly do form “lights of hope” in so many children’s lives.


Art Cards!!

You can now buy Ethiopian Orphan Relief’s Art Cards at a store, B Designs Home Decor in Hillsboro, Oregon!  These quality cards are very special as they are created by children who are now living with their forever families in the United States and by children who are living in Ethiopia at Ethiopian Orphan Relief’s partners.  A very important aspect of the cards is that all of the sales from these cards goes back to Ethiopian Orphan Relief and will be used to support EOR’s partners and projects.   B Designs Home Décor is owned by my sister in law, Jeni Barackman.  Jeni has been a supporter of Ethiopian Orphan Relief for a number of years now, as Ethiopia holds a very special place in her heart.  Jeni is an Aunt to my four children, two of whom were born in Ethiopia.  She has been a part of each of our adoptions, traveling to Ethiopia with us once and Jeni is excited to be able to support EOR in this way, and I recently asked her just a few questions about Ethiopian Orphan Relief and here is what she said:

I got involved with EOR after the invitation to the very first auction. You and Danny had invited us to go to the auction and I had no idea what to expect. I left that night feeling amazed and full of awe, with the passion and the energy that the organization had toward a country that we were just getting to know. At the time I didn’t realize what a big part Ethiopia would play in our lives. I am so grateful for that first invitation!

After the first auction I knew that I could do more to support EOR than just attending! So the following two years my mom and I created the quilt that displayed the children’s’ artwork. I also donated a few items from my etsy shop to the silent auction. My husband and I have loved the auction so much that we purchase a table now each year.  Because of all of this when I opened up my home decor shop in Hillsboro I thought that it would be a good platform to help sell the notecards!

Being a part of EOR is important to me because it impacts my family. I had the privilege of going to Ethiopia in 2011 with my brother to bring home my nephew. I never know one event in your life could have such an impact on your heart and soul. I had the honor of meeting Hannah and the girls at Children’s Heaven and I was amazed! I was able to share a meal and talk to the girls about their hopes and dreams and they showed me their crafts and stitchery work. I am so grateful for the care that the orphanage gave to both my niece and nephew and with the help of EOR that care is only getting better! I love being a part of this organization because it is helping those children that do not have their forever families.  EOR to me represents HOPE, hope for the future of children and families of Ethiopia. I am honored to be a part of EOR!

Thank you Jeni for your support and if you’d like to visit B Designs Home Décor they are located at 158 NE 2nd Ave in Hillsboro OR  97124

Bid on a trip to Ethiopia

Only two more weeks to get your proxy bid in for the Lights of Hope Auction item…. TWO Round trip tickets to Ethiopia on Ethiopian Airlines and a week all inclusive stay at Ethiopia Guest House. For more info on item click here

People often say that to fully understand a culture you should fully immerse yourself in it.  That definitely stuck in my mind when we decided to stay in Addis Ababa for an extended period during our adoption process.  Before leaving the U.S., I wondered what it was going to be like, how we were getting around, how tough the language barrier would be and how, we, as Americans adopting an Ethiopian child, would be received.  The planning and the paperwork of our adoption process, culminated into a crescendo of emotion in one singular event.  I distinctly remember my thoughts on the first morning we woke up in Addis.  The two days prior, we were travelling and it was definitely a blur of eating, watching movies, half sleeping, and reading.  I think I read the description of our Ethiopian Airlines plane like fifty times (I highly recommend Ethiopian Airlines, by the way).  We had heard many descriptions of Ethiopia from friends and fellow adoptive parents who blazed the trail before us and mixed those descriptions with travel books and countless blogs.  I remember opening my eyes that morning to the slight glow of the digital clock, and heard rain hit the roof of our guest house along with other countless tin roofs around us like a natural steel drum band.  In between beats, we could hear the slight drone of morning prayers, the crow of a local rooster and the sounds of dogs playing.  The smells were unfamiliar and I was in a kind of shock.  I thought to myself, “man, everything I’ve read, the pictures I’ve seen, and the stories I’ve heard did not prepare me for this moment”.  It was a cyclone of excitement, tiredness, newness, fear and uncertainty all rolled into a Wizard of Oz-like twister that swallowed me up and dropped me off in some foreign land.  I didn’t know what to expect.  Before I opened the door to go downstairs for breakfast, I stopped and sighed and said to myself, “Here we go…”  Breakfast was fine, talking with other families and discussing the exciting events from the day before.  The emotional high of getting into town, the emotional peak of meeting our child for the first time, and the anxious anticipation about what the new day held for us.

The next few days were a whirlwind.  After court, we travelled north to the beautiful town of Lalibela to tour the spectacular rock-hewn churches.  I was in my personal photographer’s heaven.  The churches were amazing, but my favorite memory was an electricity-free moonlit night.  There was a major power line miles away that was taken out by a truck, so the small town was without electricity for almost 24 hours.  My wife and I decided to walk the main road that night.  A lot of the townspeople were out walking as well, our collective paths lit by the full moon.  It was weird because I’m so used to street lamps competing with the moon for light, and I couldn’t believe how bright the moon was that night.  I felt like I walked into a scene from the past, and thought about how the town must have been years ago before electricity.  We walked down the street and exchanged greetings with local people as we passed.  I felt so at home that night and that feeling was constant throughout our time in Ethiopia.

When we returned to Addis and settled in at Ethiopia Guest Home, our home for the foreseeable future, I couldn’t wait to see more of the town.  We weren’t in a secluded resort area of town solely meant for tourists; we were in a neighborhood surrounded by Ethiopians going about their daily lives.  We were immersed in Ethiopian life and walked around, mingling with local people.  As we became acquainted with our surroundings, I remember waking up each day excited.  Almost instantly, we became friends with the staff at the home and we now consider them are our extended Ethiopian family.  I can honestly say that the staff was a big blessing to us and our child during our 10 weeks at Ethiopian Guest Home.  The time we spent in Ethiopia is indescribable.  People were so gracious and hospitable to us.  The end to our time in Ethiopia came kind of suddenly when we received one day’s notice of our visa interview appointment.  It was a sad moment when I realized that we were really leaving.  Sure, we were excited to start our lives back home with our son, but I knew that leaving Ethiopia was going to leave a hole in my heart.  There were many adventures and many crescendos.  Several people have asked if we would do it again and I always emphatically say “Yes!”

Ethiopia isn’t a place you can really describe with pictures and words.  It is a place you have to feel for yourself, a place that you have to smell and hear and feel upon your skin.  To get a full sense of what the country is about, you have to talk with the people, hear their stories and laughter and experience their hospitality.

I’m excited about the trip to Ethiopia that Ethiopian Orphan Relief is auctioning off in May because, if I am the winning bidder, I will be able to temporarily fill the Ethiopia-shaped hole in my heart.  The trip includes roundtrip airfare from Washington D.C. to Addis via Ethiopian Airlines and a one-week stay in the nicest suite available at Ethiopia Guest Home.  For complete details, airline blackout dates, etc., see the original post.  If you aren’t attending the auction but want to place a proxy bid on the trip, please contact Kim  at kim@ethiopianorphanrelief.org.

Michael Keo

Lights of Hope Ambassador Award

Ethiopian Orphan Relief, Inc. has long recognized the importance of the commitment to our donors and the orphaned and vulnerable children in Ethiopia. The Lights of Hope Ambassador award recognizes a donor for their extraordinary commitment to supporting children in Ethiopia.

This award also reflects all that is great in people and how with their support of EOR we have been able to help so many of the orphaned and vulnerable children.

Last year at Lights of Hope we honored John & Anne Ferguson as our  first “Lights of Hope Ambassadors” We also presented them with a Lights of Hope bowl. This bowl was hand crafted and donated by ceramic artist Connie Norman. Connie Norman has been a supporter of EOR and creates amazing, beautiful, and one of a kind ceramic pieces. Check out her portfolio of work here.

We just received an email from Connie that the Lights of Hope 2012 Ambassador Bowl is on it’s way to Oregon for our event. Thank you Connie for once again donating this piece of art.

Stay tuned on May 19th to learn more about the 2012 Lights of Hope Ambassadors. We will “introduce” you to them during the Live Auction.