A big thank-you to supporters Marie and Erik Matchett for the pictures and report of their recent trip to Faya Orphanage in Ethiopia!
On Sunday, October 28 Sintayehu picked my husband and myself up at our Guest House for a visit to Faya. He was fabulous and was a tour guide for us, taking us to visit some “attractions” along the drive!
When we pulled into orphanage we were met with smiling children ready to shake our hands and the director Meseret. It was a special day as it was a birthday of one of the little ones!
My Mom had hand made little teddy bears for the children there so we handed them out, and the children were so excited to receive these, you would think we had given them the world!! They held on to them for most of our visit and when they did put them down they laid them in their bed!
We were given a tour of the beautiful facility and we delivered our donations and some special packages for some sponsor children. We played with the children who are some of the happiest we have ever met!! We were treated to a traditional coffee ceremony and then we were on our way again!
This visit was the highlight of our trip, next to meeting our Son! I can not begin to explain how important supporting Vulnerable Children Society is and the amazing work they do for children and families!!
I hope others get the amazing opportunity to visit there as it is truly life changing!
A big warm shout-out to our friends in Invermere sewing these awesome dolls!!! When their teacher asked me if we had any use for dolls like these, I jumped at the chance. The students are making them durable, lovable and original! We will deliver them to Faya Orphanage and distribute any remaining dolls to impoverished families with small children. Thanks so much, guys!!!
Sewing machines in the textiles classroom at David Thompson Secondary School are humming, and needles with thread pass through colourful fabric with a flourish.
The Grade 8 and 9 students aren’t sewing pyjama pants or things for themselves, as often happens in textiles class: this year, the young seamsters and seamstresses are stitching together plush comfort dolls to send to Ethiopian orphans.
David Thompson Secondary School has a special connection to the particular orphanage where the dolls will be sent. Arnica Rowan, the sister of English and Drama teacher Silena Ewen runs a not-forprofit organization in Ethiopia called the Vulnerable Children Society.
When textiles teacher Marguerite DiFilippo heard about the organization, she thought her sewing class would be the perfect place to create a donation of dolls.
When all the thread is tied off, the high school students will ship enough dolls across the Atlantic Ocean for about 30 children.
“It’s a fun project because the dolls are all going to be one-of-a-kind. No one else is going to have them,” says Grade 9 student Natalie Gibbs as she irons a piece of clothing for her doll.
Sitting nearby, fellow Grade 9 student Courtney Falkmann adds, “It’s nice to know that someone who really needs it is going to get it.”
Our third day in Adama was full of fun. Of course, we did some work, going over financials and doing some planning with Faya Orphanage, delivering packages and taking pictures of House 2 House kids, but we also packed in some fun as well.
Meseret and Sintayehu’s younger sister, who looks remarkably like my younger sister! is a fabulous cook withher own restaurant. We had been treated to amazing door wat and shiro the day before, and this day she came over to give Tawnya and I shiro lessons. No wonder my shiro always turned out so powdery and yucky.. I was doing it all wrong! The result.. Delicious! And the kids ate our shiro for a morning snack.
My mother Rita, who does the updates for the community kids, interviewed Sintayehu for hours to get all the info on the children who are now in the orphanage, as well as the kids in the House 2 House program. So our next set of updates will be more comprehensive…
Later that afternoon, we were off to Addis for more meetings… And shopping!
The two background pictures are of the mosque and street leading to the new Faya house.
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.)
We’d love your feedback… What do you sponsors think? Please leave a comment!
Received an email from Arnica in Nakemte tonight. Her internet access was very poor, so she only sent a quick note:
We went to Ambe and Guder and were very impressed with the House 2 House programs there. We got to meet many of the children and their guardians. We also had a meeting with the officials in government and learn much more about their side of the process. Details to follow. We also met with an enterprising couple of young ladies who have a community lending program and are looking for a partner. Sounds very promising.
Arnica promises to post more when she arrives back in Addis. Stay tuned!
Thanks so much to Cory and the other fabulous folks at BC Tree Fruits who have donated a laptop for us to take to Faya Orphanage. We are so pleased – this will help outr partner organization with their reporting and organization immensely.