Yesterday night we arrived in Adama, a few hours south of Addis Ababa. Waiting for us were all the children at Faya Orphanage, decked out in their best white clothes.
Today, we spent several hours at the orphanage, meeting with orphanage director Meseret, and playing with the kids. Meseret kindly brought us up to date on their organizational costs, and we learned many more details about the administration of the organization. We started to do some future forecasting and strategizing about how to deal with escalating inflation, a changing adoption scene, etc. She is such a professional and it was great to learn, and connect with her again. I think we all have a lot of mutual respect for each other… She and Sintayehu are so committed and accomplish so much for some of Ethiopia’s poorest of poor children.
There are a few facts about the orphanage care that I can share that you readers might find interesting. Faya currently has four full time caregivers. They work 13 days in a row (then one day off!) and live at the orphanage day and night with the kids. These dedicated ladies sleep on mattresses in the kids room at night, cook for the children, care for them, and provide a lot of love.
Faya Orphanage serves many functions. It has three mandates: to house children on a permanent or temporary basis, to facilitate children towards adoption, and to contribute to the community through the House 2 House program.
Our Faya Child sponsors will know that when we send out update on Faya children every six months, it is more common than not that they are switched to sponsoring a different child. The reasons are simple… Sintayehu and Meseret do their best to, first, enable children to return to their families and communities. We have had several children rejoin their families in the last few months… Even long term residents I met 2.5 years ago. We got to see all of those four kids today and in Ambo, and it was wonderful to see them. Some children have also been placed for adoption, most recently to Norway.
There are also children who find a temporary home at Faya Orphanage. For example, when we went to Ambo, I was surprised to learn that one of the children I personally sponsor had gone to live at Faya orphanage with her twin brother for a few months, as her family could not care for her temporarily. There is a picture of me enjoying a visit with her, doing “sharuba” braids on a doll we brought. What a sweeteheart. We expect she and her brother will return to their family in a few weeks time. There are other children that come to the orphanage for daycare, and other temporary reasons.
Sponsors… Your money is being well spent! And truly, the organization is doing a fabulous job of all those three purposes. Without you, these children would not be so well cared for, and wouldn’t have the opportunity to grow and thrive. Thank you!!
We are interested in hearing from you the sponsors of Faya kids, about the sponsorship structure.
Currently, multiple sponsors are assigned to one child… All the sponsors together enable the funding of this organization. (It takes a lot of money to care, and to care well, for multiple children 24/7.) The assigned child usually changes every six months for the reasons explained above, but we TRY to ensure that you receive new information about the child assigned. Because children are transitory, sometimes the assigned child is gone before we get an update completed, or are too new.
Alternatively, we could restructure these sponsorships to be orphanage sponsorships instead of child sponsorships. In this alternative structure, Faya Orphanage sponsors would receive an overall update on the orphanage… How many children there are, etc., and pictures of ALL of them at the time of the update. We could also profile one child each update.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Do you like the current “FAYA CHILD” structure even though the child is always changing and we may not have complete information, OR, would you like us to reframe the sponsorship as a “FAYA ORPHANAGE” sponsorship as proposed above? (Either way, the money is all being spent the same way, but the structure would change what you as sponsors receive.)