Positive change: new partnership and new educational centre

IMPORTANT UPDATE

Please read the information below, for important information about our partnership with Faya Orphanage, and changes to our operations in Ethiopia.

We started Vulnerable Children Society in 2010, our intent was to help vulnerable children in Ethiopia. Our first partner was Faya Orphanage. We covered the costs of the orphanage and they ran our successful and growing House 2 House program. Since, we have also started working with other partners, including Canadian Humanitarian for their educational centre in Gindo.

Regrettably, we have experienced significant challenges getting comprehensive financial reports, complete sponsor child updates and other information from Faya Orphanage. The financial reporting is especially crucial to our status as a registered Canadian charity. The board of directors has worked closely with Faya Orphanage for a year on these issues. Despite this, we have been unable to achieve the level of financial reporting and child sponsorship updates we require to continue our relationship with Faya Orphanage.

Meanwhile, Faya Orphanage’s operations have changed as well. What was once a small group home for 12-15 kids is now a very large home for three or four kids. Approximately half of our monthly budget has been going to run the orphanage; whereas the other half has supported 70 children in the community. Several factors, including increased community support, more health workers, and the adoption slowdown, have all contributed to smaller numbers at the orphanage. In the larger picture, this is a good thing – more kids are staying with their families, and fewer are going into institutional care.

Not continuing contract with Faya Orphanage

As a responsible board of directors who care deeply about being accountable to our donors, we have decided not to renew our contract with Faya Orphanage.

We want to help vulnerable children in Ethiopia grow and thrive, and we need partners who can meet our reporting requirements. To be fully accountable to both our donors and the Canada Revenue Agency, we must work with partners who can provide comprehensive information on both the financials and all the children in the House 2 House program.

This has been a very difficult decision to make as a board of directors. We would like to extend our warmest thanks to Meseret and Sintayehu for working with us for the last 2.5 years to support the well-being of dozens of children and families living with HIV/AIDS or other serious health challenges. We believe the partnership between Faya Orphanage and Vulnerable Children Society has brought help and hope to many families in Adama, Wonji, Guder and Ambo. Without the tireless efforts of the directors of Faya Orphanage, none of this would have been possible.

Plan B – great news ahead!

All this said, the board is now actually feeling very positive about the future. Plan B is on the horizon, and we are very excited to roll it out.

The stress and strain of managing this partner relationship definitely took its toll in the summer/fall, but when we started looking at other options, we saw hope. Our first commitment was to the 70+/- children in our House 2 House program. We wanted to find a partner in Ethiopia willing to support these same children. Along the way, we also started looking at the possibilities to expand our programming and deepen our impact on our House 2 House families. These were board goals that we had already – to make a life-changing impact on a child’s life, and break them out of the cycle of poverty.

After months of planning, we are happy to announce that we have a new partner to continue the support of our house 2 House kids, and develop innovative programming to support them more than we could before.

Continued support for House 2 House kids

Our plan with the new partner is to continue the House 2 House program for all the current families that wish to take part.

Children in Ambo, Adama, Wonji and Mojo will be offered continuing support as follows (children in Guder will be offered a place at the new educational centre. Please see further below).

When Faya Orphanage was running our House 2 House program, we sent a cash stipend to the families, and paid for school registration fees and uniforms as a separate project. The revised program will include registration fees and uniforms for school each year, as well as an equivalent food credit at the local mill or store. A coordinator will visit each family quarterly: the food credit is conditional upon the coordinator meeting with the family and child. The coordinator will also be tasked with preparing bi-annual updates on the children. We are currently working with our partner to hire an appropriate coordinator, and get this program up and running in the next few months.

Arnica will be travelling with other directors and volunteers to Ethiopia in April. They plan to meet with many of the families, to connect with them and explain the revised program.

A new opportunity for Faya Orphanage sponsors: NEW educational centre!

We understand that most of the Faya Orphanage sponsors simply want to help children in Ethiopia struggling with poverty and HIV. We are very excited to announce an amazing opportunity to do just that. We hope that each and every one of our sponsors will maintain their monthly sponsorship, so that they can become founding supporters of our new educational centre to support our House 2 House families in Guder.

We are pleased to announce that we will be rolling out our first supportive educational centre for the House 2 House children in the town of Guder, west of Addis Ababa.

This fantastic educational centre will provide hot meals for the children each day, school registration fees and uniforms, a safe place for the kids to go after school and a support network for the guardians of the children.  As we expand our sponsor base, we also will be offering programming such as a community health worker, HIV educational workshops for guardians and children, a community garden, and after school tutoring. This centre is modeled after other very successful programs we have visited in Ethiopia, and we know that it will effect deep transformational change in these children’s lives.

We decided to begin our first educational centre in Guder, since the government officials were very receptive to or previous visits, the House 2 House program participants also have a real sense of community, there are existing ties to the HIV Association, and the town has less support from NGOs than other communities.

We will start with the current approximately 20 children in the House 2 House program, but plan to expand the centre to 30 children over time. When the Guder centre is full and we have the support to do so, we will roll out another centre, in another House 2 House community, to help the next group of kids. Eventually, we hope to have a centre in each of the communities we serve.

If you have any questions, please email info@vulnerablechildren.ca

FAQs

How does Vulnerable Children safeguard our funds?

Please refer to “Safeguarding our donors’ funds: How VCS oversees our projects to be effective and accountable”. The added component is that if our partner cannot account for funds in a timely fashion, and cannot give complete reports, then we cannot continue the relationship.

What if we still want to support Faya Orphanage?

Of course, you are welcome to support any cause you see fit in Ethiopia or anywhere. We simply will no longer be facilitating funds for Faya Orphanage.

What is happening to our donated funds now?

Faya Orphanage sponsorships will be converted to Education Centre sponsorships and applied toward the quick start-up, and soon, operation of that program. House 2 House sponsorships will support the same program, and the same children.

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