Projects & Partner Update

Here in Oregon were busy putting the final touches on our big event “Lights of Hope” auction. Many of our projects this year will be funded by the generosity of our guests. Lauren, our Partner & Projects Chair shares this update for our future projects.                           

Lola Children’s Home

Lola Children’s Home’s mission is to raise money to provide housing, medical and educational services for HIV-positive orphans and foster children in Ethiopia. Lola is located in Mekele, in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Lola was founded because Tigray had no services available for HIV-positive orphans, many of whom are left without family or government support after their parents’ deaths. Many children live on the streets, receiving no food, shelter, education or medicine to help them combat the disease. EOR was thrilled to supply the children of LOLA with new beds, mattresses, sheets and blankets in 2010. Plans for 2011-12 include purchasing the organization a reliable vehicle to help with transport, shopping, and ease of access to urgent medical care. . EOR Board members and supporters plan travel to Lola in November 2011.

SOSEE

Lauren helping a child learn the sport of riding a bike in Harar

For two decades, SOS Enfants Ethiopie (SOSEE) has committed itself to provide humanitarian services to orphans and vulnerable children who are leading their lives under difficult circumstances. Specifically, SOSEE aims to provide these children with basic needs, psychosocial support, medical, academic and vocational education with the goal of enabling them to be self-reliant individuals. This large organization now supports 18 satellite orphanages throughout Ethiopia, as well as 3 main orphanages in Addis Ababa, A current total of 657 children are supported. SOSEE’s programs are varied and include community outreach, farming, job training, and a premier medical program that cares for HIV positive children. In 2009 EOR stocked a newly built medical clinic with essential equipment and supplies. A new playground was completed for the children in Akaki orphanage and EOR Board members hand delivered toys to a SOSEE Harar satellite orphanage In December of 2009. In 2011-12 EOR hopes to raise money needed to purchase an ambulance transport vehicle that will ensure safe transport for ill children from satellite orphanages to Addis Ababa where they will receive much needed support from skilled medical staff. EOR Board members and supporters plan travel to SOSEE in 11-2011.

FOVC

Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (FOVC) is working in one of the poorest zones in southern Ethiopia with a mission to educate and support orphans, vulnerable children, and widows in Ethiopia.

FOVCʼs goal is to end the cycle of hunger and poverty for these children by providing quality education, food, shelter, and medical assistance. In 2010 EOR was proud to donate significant financial support enabling the construction to start on a large, well designed orphanage compound. This project includes sleeping areas, bathrooms, and kitchen facilities. EOR has pledged continued financial support in order to complete the structure as soon as possible. Other supported projects included the “Widows Hope Project”, purchase of 67 hen/rooster couplets and livestock. Malaria is a concern in this area and multiple EOR sponsored fundraisers hope to raise money for life saving Mosquito nets. EOR is thrilled to have them as a partner and look forward to supporting their groundbreaking work in southern Ethiopia. EOR Board members and supporters plan travel to FOVC in November 2011.

CHILDREN’S HEAVEN

Childrenʼs Heaven is dedicated to improving the lives of Orphaned and vulnerable girls who have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Its mission is to embrace, empower and minimize these girls’ socio-economic vulnerability. At Children’s Heaven the girls acquire skills, and knowledge, that help them develop the confidence and self-reliance needed to live healthy productive adult lives. Children’s Heaven strives to help meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the 100 girls that are benefiting daily from this amazing program. In 2009, EOR provided a long term rental home where the girls are currently meeting. In 2010 EOR raised $20,000 for this project jump starting a feeding program that ensures these girls get 1 nutritious meal per day. EOR also helped finance a library for their use. Future projects include helping them find, purchase and move to a permanent home. EOR Board members and supporters plan travel to Children’s Heaven in November 2011.

WATER FIRST INTERNATIONAL= ETHIOPIA

Water 1stʼs mission is to serve families in the poorest communities in the world as they implement community-managed projects that provide a water supply, sanitation, and health education. 85% of the total population of the country live in rural areas. Health indicators demonstrate that Ethiopia has serious problems in the area of health care and disease prevention. Water and sanitation-related diseases, particularly diarrhea, are among the top three causes of death in the country. Only 11% of the rural population has access to safe drinking water, and many people survive on a strict ration of less than five liters of water per day. The work of Water 1st in Ethiopia is focused on the West Showa zone where less than 10% of the population has access to safe water and even fewer have access to improved sanitation. In 2010, at $10,000 donation from EOR was put to work in Kelecho Gerbi, Ethiopia, a community of 4,085 people who struggle each day to meet their daily need for water. This well is almost completed and will provide, 8 community taps and 50 latrines. This project will supply a lifetime of clean, safe water and sanitation for the people of this area. EOR feels water projects are fundamental to our mission and will continue to fund similar projects in the future.

Lauren, Project & Partner Chair

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Update IV: SOS/EE

When EOR began in early 2008, it was clear that we would include SOS EE as a partner.  At that time, the majority of the board members had adopted children through Dove International, and Dove works with SOS EE, so we had firsthand knowledge of some of the orphanages in the system, and had already identified some needs, in particular, play equipment for the older boys and girls.  For those of you unfamiliar with SOS EE, I’ve included a blurb from our website…

For two decades, SOS Enfants Ethiopie (SOS EE) has committed itself to provide humanitarian services to orphans and vulnerable children who are leading their life under difficult circumstances.  Specifically, SOS EE aims to provide these children with basic needs, psychosocial support, medical, academic and vocational education which would enable them to be self reliant citizens. This large organization now supports 18 satellite orphanages throughout Ethiopia, as well as 3 main orphanages in Addis Ababa, a current total of 657 children are supported. Their programs are varied and include community outreach, farming, job training, and a premier medical program that cares for HIV positive children.  In 2009, EOR stocked a newly built medical clinic with essential equipment, medications and supplies. A new playground was also completed and a satellite orphanage in Harar was filled with hand delivered toys from EOR board members.

With so many funded projects in 2009, we turned our efforts to other partners throughout 2010.   We’d love to fund additional projects at SOS/EE in 2011, because as always, there are additional needs to be met.  Specifically, SOS/EE has asked us to fund a medical transport vehicle so that children who need medical care can be safely transported from satellite locations to Addis Ababa, where advanced medical care is more readily available.  The board can’t wait to help fund this vehicle; we hope you feel that way too.

If you have your own ideas about needs to be met at SOS/EE or any of our partner organizations, please share.

Paige (proud mama to an SOS/EE cutie too!)


Rock star kid

Meet Parker. He’s EOR’s newest young  philanthropist. He’s  only 9 years old, yet this guy has a heart for orphans in Ethiopia. His little sister Mia was adopted from SOS EE’s Toukoul Orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Recently this rock star kid held a lemonade stand and donated all the proceeds, $50.00 to EOR for his sister’s orphanage.

Thank you Parker for making a difference in many orphans lives.

If you’re interested in supporting EOR with your personal fundraiser, please contact info@ethiopianorphanrelief.org

Kim

Parker & Mia

Friendships

Plant a seed of friendship; reap a bouquet of happiness.
— Lois L. Kaufman

When our family started the path to bring a child home from Ethiopia we never imagined the friendships that would be made along the way. To walk through this journey with friends and meet the people we did is something I will forever cherish.

Here in Oregon we have an amazing group of families who have children from Ethiopia. I feel so lucky to live in an area were my children will have lifelong friendships with children who started  their life together in Ethiopia.

Our daughter shared the first four months of her life with one of the girls who we fondly refer to as “The Toukoul Girls plus One.” Three of the four girls  are all from Le Toukoul Orphanage in Addis Ababa. Yes,  M and AR were infants and have no remembrance of their time in a tiny crib at SOS EE Le Toukoul Orphanage together but do truly feel that as they continue to grow together they will one day cherish that they were first crib mates in Ethiopia. The other two girls in “The Toukoul Girls plus one” are also from Ethiopia. One by birth Miss Y and one by sisterhood, Miss R.

These three girls are my daughters dearest friends. They enjoy family gatherings, play dates, laughs and sometime toddler tears. To top it off the parents are dear friends and also cherish the time we get to spend together!

Friendships are a very important part of life. They are formed in many different ways and take many different paths. I’m so thankful that my daughter has friends that she can share her Ethiopian culture with.

If you are not in a area where you have families from Ethiopia how about finding a pen pal for your child. What a fun way to start a friendship. Maybe a family you traveled with, someone from your agency family, etc. It could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Here are a few pics of “The Toukoul Girls plus One”

Kim


Take a look at your generosity in 2009

Ethiopian Orphan Relief’s donors made such a difference in 2009. Each donation from $2.00 to $6,000 made a difference. This past December EOR board members traveled to Ethiopia to check on the projects that were completed by your generosity. This video was put together for the Lights of Hope May 8th event in Portland, Oregon. Take a look at this video to see the difference you each made.

Click Here to see video

Kim

Simply Amazing

Lights of Hope 2010 was a huge success. Each guest gave with their heart and it was a very emotional, amazing, energetic night. Proceeds from Lights of Hope 2010 were nearly $67,000. We are speechless at your generosity. Your giving will help so many children in Ethiopia. Thank you to each guest for their generosity, thank you to our sponsors, thank you to our donors. Each of you have made such a difference . We are in awe of your generosity and the hope you have for the orphans in Ethiopia.

In 15 minutes you gave enough money for 500 days of food for 100 girls at Children’s Heaven. Their lives will forever be changed by you.

You all made a difference and that was shown beyond measure on Saturday night. We are  speechless and forever grateful to each of you.

Kim Pasion, President, Chair Lights of Hope Auction

Lauren Andronici, Partner & Project Chair, Lights of Hope Chair

Jenny Petersen, Board Member, Chair Lights of Hope

Being a Child

We are starting to get a little warm weather where I live and today we were able to get outside and enjoy the day.  While I was watching my kids play I was struck by the thought that there are so many orphans living in Ethiopia who will never get to be so carefree and who will instead bear the burdens and work that are beyond their years.  Some of the children who become orphans will end up living at a care center such as an orphanage, which will take on the responsibility of caring for the many children entrusted to them.  However, such a big job can not be done alone.  That is why I am grateful to be a part of Ethiopian Orphan Relief, who partners with and supports some of these orphanages.  By supporting Ethiopian Orphan Relief I can help to give these children some of the simple childhood experiences that they would not otherwise be able to have.   By attending this year’s Lights of Hope Benefit Auction you too can help to give these children the love, care and chance to be a child.

-Jenny

Bigger than I thought

Lucky me!  Many months back, I found our guest blogger on HabeshaChild‘s blogroll.  She had made a funny comment on one of HC’s posts, and I needed to know more.  I’m so glad I’m nosy!  Madame S is a fabulous blogger:  witty, thoughtful, and an amazing photographer.   Here’s a small glimpse of her brilliance…

I suspect like many prospective adoptive parents, before I took a pen to an actual application from an actual agency to actually adopt, I encountered the wide world of Ethiopian Adoption Blogs.  Googling “ethiopian adoption blog” first led me to blog royalty, like Mary from Owlhaven,   Melissa Fay Green, and long before her referral, Julie from the Eyes of My Eyes Are Open.  I was also particularly fond of Straight Magic, and Habesha Child.  Then I found Kristin J Photography and that clinched it for me. Her images of a family meeting their little one brought me to tears and I knew this was a group of people I wanted to be a part of.  No, we didn’t decide to adopt, or even adopt from Ethiopia because we wanted to join a club — though I’d be lying if I didn’t say I think ET adoptive families are among the greatest people on the planet and I would be proud to be counted in their number. But as we grew in our resolve to adopt and fell in love with Ethiopia,  it was the blogs of real people who were living the journey of international adoption process, or had completed it and were now charting the waters of parenting children of a different heritage and often race that made it all seem doable. I found constant inspiration in my lurking.
Until lurking wasn’t enough anymore.
I had to comment. I had to beg for a lifeline. I wanted to connect to these bloggers. I wanted them to know I was alive, just as I knew they are alive. I wanted to share in their journeys and I wanted them to share in mine.
Because adoption is lonely.
Even in the best of circumstances, when blessed with loving and enthusiastic family and friends, nothing can replace being able to talk about everything international adoption entails with someone who GETS IT.  And no matter how much empathy our parents have, how many thumbs up we get from our friends, sometimes they say insensitive, or subtlety racist things.
Early on in the process or waiting game, we PAPs start feeling the onus of being examples and teachers of sensitivity to the people in our world that love us, but are not living and breathing adoption on the level that we are. They are not taking the classes, they are not reading the books, they are not learning from other adoptive families. They are not keeping up. They care, but they don’t always get it. They try but they might never say things exactly the right way, or understand without explanation which questions are not appropriate to ask.
I never imagined that the sneaky education I’d been receiving from fellow bloggers’ experiences would transform into one of the most important social and emotional resources of my life.
Ethiopian adoption bloggers are a lifeline for me. Through blogging I have found other adoptive families living in my area. We might never have connected without blogs. I’ve waited with them, cried with them when they received their referrals, jumped in the car when I received the “green light” to come meet their sweet new little ones. I have felt supported and buoyed up in the highs and lows of my family’s process. The best thing in the world is meeting a virtual friend in real life, and being able to hug a person who you’ve cared about for a year or two.
I would say one of the most important examples I’ve been shown through this network of adoptive families is how to literally walk the walk and put your money where your mouth is in regards to caring for orphans.  I didn’t even know what sponsoring a child meant until I heard about it on other adoptive families’ blogs. I am so thankful for their goodness and examples. A lifelong connection to Ethiopia is so important in regard to these little souls we transplant into our families;  what better way to keep the fire alive than through humanitarian work like that done by EOR?
Our family reached a low point several months ago. We were living la Vida Adoption, pleased as punch with our agency, and things were going well. All of a sudden, I received the shocking news that I was very unexpectedly pregnant. I won’t write about that here, since I have written plenty on my blog about why this was not ok -at first- and what it did to all our glorious family planning.  But I will say that it was devastating to put our adoption on hold.  On top of major health concerns, I was afraid that becoming pregnant would alienate me from my support network, since many of us who choose to adopt do so because of fertility issues.
I underestimated the blog world. The people who had been my confidantes and cheerleaders during adoption were just as supportive and kind when they found out I was expecting not a little Habesha, but a homegrown baby.  Strangely, I have several “real life”  friends who I would have considered close, who still have never called or visited once since telling  them about my debilitating pregnancy. I have received gifts, calls and a constant flow of emails and comments on my blog from my adoption blog peeps, and for this I will be endlessly grateful.
God has been smiling for a while on our little family, apparently He always knew what was going on. Despite an unexpected and brutally difficult pregnancy, and having to place our adoption on hold, a mistake was made somewhere in communication.  A glorious mistake.  Someone in Ethiopia didn’t get the memo, and matched us with a little one. We were wildly happy to accept a referral of a little boy a few weeks ago, and as our wait has intensified in emotion, I continue to stalk blogs to see how quickly other families’ court dates and travel dates come.
Now my urgency to connect has honed in on families using my same agency. In some ways, I have wished I had spent more time finding Dove families sooner over the past two years, so we could be resources for each other. I never realized when it came time to travel, how much I’d want support of folks who have been there, or who are going ahead of me. And how much I’d want to be a source of hope and information for the families that follow us. Dove Adoption Families, I am one of you. Feel free to stop by the ol’ blog and drop me a line!
Blogging can seem a silly trend, there are times when we might sacrifice a bit too much time on the internets. But for my family, it has proved to be one of the best comforts and sources of information in our adoption process. We have made real friends, connected with real people.
For me personally, the blogging connection has been a bigger deal than I thought.
Thank you Stace, for sharing your voice with us.  I feel so lucky to “know” you and look forward to the pleasure of finding you on my reader each day.
Paige

Lights Of Hope 2010

May 8th night of the second annual Lights of Hope Benefit Auction is fast approaching.  It will be a fun evening with dinner, drinks and many great things to bid on during the silent and live auctions.  There will be something for everyone and for those of you curious about what we have here is a peek at just a few of the items;

We will have jewelry, including the Lights of Hope necklace, beautiful Ethiopian girl’s dresses, perfect for summer which is just around the corner, spa gift certificates that would make wonderful gifts for Mother’s Day or be a very nice treat for oneself, a fishing trip, a two night stay at a spa in Napa Valley, custom made dolls, custom paintings and artwork, a one week stay in Puerto Rico, Dragonleaf Photography photo shoot, family fun at the Children’s Museum and so much more.  This is only a sneak peek so we can’t give it all away!

Tickets are $50.00 a person or $380.00 for a table of eight and to purchase a ticket or for more information about the auction please go to our homepage and select Lights of Hope 2010 under Events and Fundraising.

We hope to see you there!

Jenny

Medication Drive

As you may know already know, a group of board members is headed to Ethiopia on December 11.  I have been collecting donations for a medication purchase just prior to our trip.  The pediatricians at Le Toukoul in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia have supplied me with a “need list” including antibiotics, antifungals, and other over the counter medications.  I have found a supplier that is selling these medications to EOR at cost. These prices are rock bottom, so a little cash goes a long way.

EXAMPLE $70 for 25 1 gram Vials of Rocephin!!!!!!!

THANK YOU to the following groups/individuals that have supported this Medication Drive thus far.

1-     Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mankato, Kansas  (Specifically WELCA)

2-     Brenda and Kent Enyeart

3-     Harold and Elaine Lippold

4-     Bill and Verla Roe

5-     The Vancouver Clinic staff and providers

We are planning on visiting/volunteering at several clinics and I am thrilled to be hand delivering these medications to the amazing physicians that are caring for the orphans.  They often work with limited resources and these medications will help them do their jobs.  We really are making a difference.

If anyone else is interested in contributing to this Medication Drive please contact me via e-mail.   I am planning on making the final purchase of medications just after Thanksgiving.

Lauren@ethiopianorphanrelief.org

Lauren ~ EOR Board Member & Medical Liaison