EOR Project Updates-September

The moms and dads that make up Ethiopian Orphan Relief’s team of Board Members, Advisory Board and Volunteers have been so very busy raising money and organizing projects, we wanted to update all of our readers on the status of our various projects.

Many amazing children have spent their summer selling lemonade to benefit EOR, asking for donations to EOR instead of birthday gifts and even donating all the money they were saving for a Wii to EOR (Curious? Look back in our archives). Parents, you’ve done good–mini philanthropists in the making, for sure. Kids–we’re all so proud of you. You probably don’t remember the cheesy lyrics to Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All,” but as someone who spent many a summer day torturing my babysitter with a lip-synced version of the song, I can tell you–you are the future, I hope the money you’ve raised has made you feel proud and I hope other kids (and adults) see you as heroes like the kids in Ethiopia will.

We’ve also had lots of adults step up for Ethiopian orphans–we’ve had parents to be ask for donations to EOR instead of gifts at their baby showers, and raise lots of money in the process.

As of today, a mere 8 months after our founding, EOR has raised over $6,000 to benefit Ethiopian orphans. None of this came in the form of huge donations. Our vision for EOR was lots of people doing whatever they could for the greater good of Ethiopian orphans–it’s amazing to see that coming to fruition.

Here’s the status of individual project fundraising–

Playground for AHOPE for Children: We’re about half way there…but we need the rest of the money ASAP so we can get the playground shipped over the first week of October. PLEASE donate now to this project if you can! There is a link on our website!!

Playground for SOS/EE: We’re about a quarter of the way there. Donations welcome!!

Building/Facility for Children’s Heaven: We’ve only just begun…EOR will be hosting an Art for Ethiopia event in Denver on November 8th to raise money for this project, please plan to attend if you’re in the area and if you’re an artist, please donate something!! More information is available on our website under “Fundraising”

Sanitation System for Hope for Hosanna School: Donations needed!

Foundation for Be’Emenet Orphanage and School: Donations needed! This is a new project for us, and a very important one. If we can get the foundation built quickly (by the end of the year) we can have the land FOR FREE to build the rest of the orphanage and the school.

For more information on our projects and beneficiary organizations, please visit our website and click on “Partners and Projects” and/or search our blog archives.

Thanks again for your support, donations and purchases from our store–every little bit helps. Together, we can change the world for Ethiopian orphans.

-Danielle, President of EOR

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Surviving Court Closure By Doing Something Positive

If you’re stuck in the middle of the Ethiopian court closure and your adoption progress has recently reached a standstill, then you’re probably looking for ways to pass the time (BESIDES obsessing over all the message boards..come on, you know you were). During our adoption this was one of the many hurdles we faced, and I whined my way through this and every other one, so know that you’re not alone (even if your family and friends don’t get it). Soon enough, your child will be in your arms forever and ever and all this waiting will be just a memory. So, instead of whining and waiting, how about doing something positive? Something to help the kids who won’t be going home to loving families.

During this time in our adoption, we came up with the idea to try and raise money from family and friends in an attempt to do something to help in Ethiopia once we arrived. We weren’t really sure what we’d do, we had no idea how much money we’d raise and we’d never done anything like this before, but we were waiting out the court closure and figured our holiday card mailing could be when we sent the requests–we were already sending cards (with very cool pictures of our dogs in beautiful mountain settings that no one in our family ever seemed to appreciate…”Enough with the dogs!” they’d say, but we love our furry babies! What can you do?) and we could just replace the “family newsletter” in which we had nothing to write anyway (“This year we filed lots of paperwork and did lots of waiting then got our fingerprints done again before waiting some more and…”). We gathered statistics from the internet and wrote a letter about what led us to adoption (everyone wanted to know anyway, better to throw it out there than let them wonder!), about Ethiopia’s orphans and about how we hoped to help the kids who would be left behind–the kids we knew would break our hearts when we got there. We promised hugs and kisses from our future child and photos from our trip in return.

What happened next was nothing short of amazing–our families and friends came out in droves to support our ideas (even though we still didn’t know what they were), they passed the letters on to others and asked for their support, they donated money in people’s names as holiday gifts and wrote more letters about what we were trying to do, about why this made them happy. They shipped boxes of donations and Christmas cards with checks. Then we heard from our adoption agency that the group that oversees our future child’s current orphanage was in dire need of a new orphanage for HIV+ children, and that they were trying to raise money to make it happen. We suddenly had our idea! We knew where the money would go. We frantically wrote another letter to all of our friends and family to tell them what they had contributed to–a new orphanage. Everyone was so excited and suddenly we were all in this adoption together. My hometown paper wrote a story on us, the town where we currently live wrote a feature story on us, and soon, soon we were off to Addis Ababa to meet our daughter.

We each brought a small carryon sized suitcase, plus a regular sized suitcase for Amelie (diapers take up lots of room, it turns out!) and the rest of our baggage allowance was donations. We sent the money over to the agency in charge of raising the money (along with a 100% match from my husband’s employer, Abbott Labs!). My husband later won an award from his employer for this project (The 2008 Caring Award) and it was presented to him at a large company-wide event. The event resulted in even more donations. Now, a year and a half later, ground has been broken at the new orphanage, and walls are up. Ethiopian Orphan Relief, the non-profit I founded to continue helping the kids left behind, is currently raising money for a playground at the facility. Talk about your full circle moments.

Doesn’t that sound more fun than waiting?! If you don’t want to write your own letter, send me an email to Danielle@ethiopianorphanrelief.org and I’ll send you a sample to get you started. In addition to the Toukoul Playground, EOR is also currently raising money for a Playground at AHOPE*, a sanitation system for the Hope for Hossanna School and a building for Children’s Heaven.

-Danielle

*Note: EOR was originally raising money for a water filtration system at AHOPE, but we were recently informed that another group was already raising money for this in Ethiopia, so the AHOPE staff asked that we instead raise money for a playground at AHOPE.

Partner Organization: Children’s Home Society and Family Services

Ethiopian Orphan Relief is pleased to announce its partnership with Children’s Home Society and Family Services.

Children’s Home Society & Family Services (CHSFS) is an adoption placement agency that works with Ethiopian orphans, and houses these children at a private care house facility in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Some of their humanitarian projects include:

Hope for Hossana: A project aimed at helping the people of Hossana and the surrounding communities by providing essential support such as healthcare and education. As part of the project, a school will be built featuring classrooms, water filtration, a lunch/food program, sanitation facilities and a library.

Ottoro School: A project that will help families stay together by providing them with education and clean water.

Sipara Mother and Child Health Center: A health center located in Addis Ababa that provides community-based medical care to disadvantaged and underserved women and children. Services include outpatient services, prenatal care and education, inpatient services, delivery, biomedical lab testing and newborn immunizations. Sipara has served thousands of Ethiopians since it began services in October 2007. Sipara will partner with the University of Minnesota’s Global Pediatrics Fellowship Program and International Adoption Clinics.

Ethiopian Orphan Relief will be raising money for a sanitation system at CHSFS’ Hope for Hosanna School. If you’d like more information, please visit our website at www.ethiopianorphanrelief.org or contact us at Jane@ethiopianorphanrelief.org.

Thank You Jane and Greg!

Thank you to EOR Board Member Jane Gregorie from Denver and her husband, EOR Volunteer Greg Cradick for hosting their baby shower to benefit Ethiopian Orphan Relief Partner Organizations CHSFS and AHOPE for Children! In lieu of gifts, Jane and Greg asked their friends and family to donate supplies from the “Wish Lists” from CHSFS and AHOPE for Children. Jane and Greg will bring these supplies to Ethiopia when they travel in August to pick up their little boy Ezra. If you’re interested in hosting a baby shower to benefit one or more of our Partner Organizations, please contact us at info@ethiopianorphanrelief.org. Partner Organization’s “Wish Lists” can be found on our website, www.ethiopianorphanrelief.org

Above (left) is EOR Founder and Board Member Danielle Marquis giving a talk about EOR’s mission to a group of onlookers at Jane and Greg’s fundraising babyshower. After the festivities the donated materials (right) were gathered to pack up for Jane and Greg’s upcoming trip to Ethiopia. They will be taking these items with them to Ethiopia to donate to AHOPE.