The Joy of Giving

Somehow, not only for Christmas

     But all the long year through

The joy that you give to others

     Is the joy that comes back to you

And the more you spend in blessing

     The poor and lonely and sad,

The more of your heart’s possessing

     Returns to make you glad.

John Greenleaf Whittier

Thank you for sharing your joy with us.



Human Rights Day

Sharing from the United Nations website:

Human Rights Day, 10 December

Human Rights Day presents an opportunity, every year, to celebrate human rights, highlight a specific issue, and advocate for the full enjoyment of all human rights by everyone everywhere.

This year, the spotlight is on the rights of all people — women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, the poor and marginalized — to make their voices heard in public life and be included in political decision-making.

These human rights — the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, to peaceful assembly and association, and to take part in government (articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) have been at the centre of the historic changes in the Arab world over the past two years, in which millions have taken to the streets to demand change. In other parts of the world, the “99%” made their voices heard through the global Occupy movement protesting economic, political and social inequality.

If you think about the mission of EOR:

     “We work in partnership with local organizations to support the emotional and physical needs of Ethiopia’s orphans and vulnerable 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.”

You’ll note that much of what we do is designed to give voice to the voiceless.  By educating children, feeding them, and giving them a place to call home, we help to create a home for them in the larger society.

We want these children to grow up healthy and educated, with myriad opportunities to join Ethiopian society as fully-participating members. As a result, these children will become the adults who guide future policies, who will indeed have a voice in their communities and a real chance to affect change.

The people of Busa have a voice.

The people of Busa have a voice.

When you give to Ethiopian Orphan Relief, you give so much more than a meal, or school fees to a child.  You are ensuring the future success of this adult, and as such, you are improving the society in which they live.  What a marvel YOU are!  Thank you friends, for supporting the work of Ethiopian Orphan Relief, for supporting Ethiopia.  YOU are EOR!

Ethiopia's future

Ethiopia’s future


*In celebration of this 64th Human Rights Day, I’ll donate  $1.64 to EOR for each comment shared on this post.  Lend your voice, lend your support!



It’s National Blog Posting Month, and you know what that means?  After a 3 month hiatus, we’re sweeping out the cobwebs  and blowing off the dust to share a month of thanks with you.

It’s been quiet around here, but only because we’ve been so busy.  In the past few months, Ethiopian Orphan Relief has hosted all sorts of fundraisers, we’ve delivered on promises made to our various partners, and we’ve begun planning in earnest for Night of Warmth (February, 2013) and Lights of Hope (May, 2013).

As a start to this month of gratitude, I’d like to mention how thankful I am for the support EOR receives here in Ohio.  From attending our events, wallets in hand, to joining our event planning teams, our Cowtown friends come through…again, and again, and again.

Thanks so much to all of YOU who keep coming back for more.  YOU are the reason Ethiopian Orphan Relief thrives.  YOU are the reason these kids have healthy food, a chance to go to school, and a place to call home.  Thank YOU!



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! “

Success in Shanto…and beyond

Our friends in Shanto, FOVC, recently published their annual report.  Working closely with FOVC throughout the year, I knew most of the exciting things going on there, but I was eager to read the report anyway, looking forward to seeing new photos, and… a long list of accomplishments.

It was all there in glorious black and white–from an entire orphan care facility built by YOU, to the school supplies, clothing, mosquito nets and basketball hoop our supporters donated, EOR‘s donors have made a BIG difference in the lives of the children of Shanto.

Please take a minute to read through Desalegn’s terrific report, and note the many wonderful things you’ve done to support the children of Shanto, and the satellite regions of Dale and Borcha.  Whether you’ve given $10 or $10,000.00 your money has made a huge change in the lives of these children.

It’s so exciting to read about the fruits of our partnership with FOVC over the last year.  We can’t wait to see what next year brings!

Thanks to each and every one of you who brought medicine and classrooms and joy to the children of FOVC.  YOU are EOR!



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


Working on Night of Warmth (you know, the Columbus OH-IO fundraiser for EOR on February 25.  18 days!) makes me feel like this:


You know…delighted!!!  This little person, and the hundreds of other kids I met while I was in Ethiopia last November help keep me focused on the end goal as I help to put the finishing touches on Night of Warmth.  His enthusiasm and mine must be contagious, because there are a huge number of people to thank for all of their efforts to make Night of Warmth a huge success.


I’d like to start by thanking our guests, our sponsors and our donors.  Your shared commitment to the children of Ethiopia warms the icy spots in my heart.   The success of Night of Warmth will belong to all of you.

I’d also like to thank the world’s best event planning committee:  Meggann, Katie, Emily, Ali & Abbie have made planning this incredible event a walk in the park.   None of this would be possible without them or their terrific spouses who also volunteer for NOW, juggle childcare duties and sell tickets, all for the children of Ethiopia.

This time last year, as we planned Dead of Winter, I was a crazy mess.  Even with a fabulous, dedicated committee, the success (or not) of the event fell largely on my shoulders.  This year, it has been enormously helpful to be joined by two fabulous Columbus-area board members as we’ve put this together.  Amy and Alex are the best kind of women–I am SO lucky to know them both!


Lastly, the husbands of the board need a special mention.  From Day 1, my commitment to Ethiopian Orphan Relief, Inc. has been a shared one.  Albert and our tots play a large role in my work for EOR.  It’s quite obvious that Amy and Alex could say the same.  Thank you Albert, Joel and Dan for your efforts.

When Night of Warmth is over and the proceeds have been tallied, I will be lauded again and again for the job that I’ve done.  Know now that EVERY time I say thank you for the praise, I will remember the role each of you played.

Ahmesegenallo, friends of Ethiopia,


Don’t have your tickets for Night of Warmth yet?  It’s not too late!   Visit our ‘Donate Now’ page for tickets or contact more more information.




Feeding Update – Children’s Heaven

Think back to  the 2010 Lights of Hope event, our generous donors raised $21,000 in 15 minutes so that EOR could begin funding a nutritious daily feeding program at Children’s Heaven. 

 Although we had hoped to fund the program for a year, EOR’s donation extended this program for 17 months. 
  Hanna Fanta is the Director of Childrens Heaven and is seen in this video discussing how the nutritious  meal program has dramatically improved the health of the girls. We visited Children’s Heaven  during our  November 2011 trip to Ethiopia and were thrilled to see what our donors money is doing to change the lives of these young girls. 

To see this heartfelt video click here


a thank you from YOU

It always brightens our day at Ethiopian Orphan Relief when a note arrives from YOU via email, snail mail, comment on our blog, comment on facebook. 

We wanted to share this beautiful insight from a friend of EOR and Lola Children’s Home, Tiffany who shared with us first hand how YOUR generosity is helping. 

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all your work. I’m a volunteer who has spent time at Lola Children’s Home for the past two summers. Everything you have done for them, I know has been much appreciated, but I wanted to share this story with you- to reiterate the beauty that is the Lola/EOR van!! Last summer, one of our little ones(and I mean little) had to have a tooth removed- it had been damaged and staff had located a dentist that did pediatric work-so one late afternoon, I went with her and a staff member to the dentist. This took quite a walk followed by two or three different bagets (little 3 wheeled cabs) in the rain to get to the dentist. Then after a traumatic dentist visit for our little one- which was just as traumatic to her English speaking ferengi(me), we had to make that same trip home while also stopping at the pharmacist. This whole process probably took at least an hour and half longer than it should have. I’m so glad they have the van now!!! Your organization is amazing and directly impacting many children. I just wanted to say that.

Thank you Tiffany for your uplifting letter. We love the children at Lola and all that our gracious donors provide for the orphan and vulnerable children in Ethiopia. 

EOR Ethiopia Trip-Day 10

It appears as if our adventurous crew of 8 have regained some internet access. After spending a few days in very rural southern Ethiopia, the EOR team is heading back to Addis Ababa. For those of you just joining us. Ethiopian Orphan Relief has a team in Ethiopia right now. Part of our responsibility as a nonprofit is to check on and assess the needs and how our funds are being spent. On this trip, 8 people are traveling throughout Ethiopia. They are meeting and seeing first hand what every single dollar given to EOR has done for the individuals there. Thank you to our donors, you make us proud.

Once again, here are the updates from Kim and Lauren:

Kim: “Wow!! Amazing time we had in Shanto, Ethiopia since Tuesday. The orphanage is all built. We did painting, health assessments, installed a basketball hoop, bought tons of medical supplies, chalkboards, school books, passed out gena bags, went to open air market and bought all the kids bananas out and left much of our heart in Shanto. Now on the way to Dale and Borcha villages to pass out mosquito nets. Will update more in few days. Haven’t had internet or phone access since Monday.”

Lauren: “Day 10- On our way back to Addis from Soddo and Shanto. Wow- This FOVC compound that EOR helped fund is RURAL! We are so pround to be partnered with this group. Desalegn Daka is a smart, loving, and innovative person. These kids are in dire need of our support. Great things are happening that are changing the whole community of Shanto. Clean water, medicine, and EDUCATION. The kids were working on math problems in a mud/ hay building that knocked my socks off. The need is great, but they have come so far with the great support of Ethiopian Orphan Relief. Had a HUGE bon fire and a lamb/sheep dinner. Yes… I saw the animal eat its last meal a few hours prior.”